Ready or not, here comes the seafood.
The Ninth Annual Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival is rearing to go, with plans to accommodate 33,000 visitors over the three-day event this weekend, Oct. 19-21.
Attendees will be treated to all the best the South has to offer – great food, great music, arts and crafts, local business vendors, classic cars, a carnival, and of course, a heap of southern hospitality.
"Wear comfortable shoes and bring sunscreen and a big appetite!" recommended Chairman Janet Thayer.
The festival kicks off Friday evening at J.F. Gregory Park, and the events are lined up one after another, providing a jam-packed weekend that offers something for everyone.
"We have 40 arts and crafts vendors, approximately 30 business booths that are showcasing local businesses; we have 29 food vendors, including coconut shrimp, jambalaya, shrimp quesadillas, crawfish etoufee, white pizza with crab or clam, fried bacon wrapped shrimp and – for those more daring – a conch salad. For those who do not like seafood, we will also have hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage, barbeque, and things like that. And for the sweet tooth, we’re glad the Boy Scouts will be back again this year with their great peach cobbler," Thayer said.
Before the official start, Friday morning will host a free special needs carnival, for the second year running. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 19, Kissel Carnivals will have rides paced for children with special needs, but there are a limited number of spaces. Call the Chamber of Commerce at 756-3444 to ensure your child’s participation.
"Everything’s pretty much set up and now we’re just making sure everything looks good. Richmond Hill is one of our favorite stops and we’re waiting for everyone to come out this weekend. All that’s left are the finishing touches," said carnival worker Ed Saturday of the "Hat Shack" on Tuesday, noting this is his third year at the festival.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, local events are scheduled throughout the day, and the carnival will have a matinee special for $10 unlimited rides; after 4 p.m. the cost for unlimited rides will be $15.
Simultaneously on Saturday, the Ninth Annual Great Ogeechee Vehicle Show will be happening.
"We will be registering cars through Saturday up till the event, and we’re hoping to have about 300 cars this year," Thayer said.
There is a $20 registration fee; vehicles can be registered from 9 a.m.-noon, followed by judging from 12-1 p.m. All participants will be entered into a drawing to win a GM Performance Parts engine. For more information, call Maria Pruden at 856-1652, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://govehicleshow.com.
Thayer said there will be an ATM inside the park and designated parking will run much like it has in previous years.
"There will sign boards on the side of the road with directional arrows, instructing visitors to our designated parking in the school lots and the First Baptist Church. School bus shuttles will be coming out of all designated parking lots and they’ll run constantly throughout the entire weekend," she said.
Once you’ve secured a parking spot, tickets can be purchased at the main gate with cash or a local check. Friday tickets will be $5 starting at 5 p.m., Saturday will be $3 tickets from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and $10 after that; Sunday will be $3 tickets from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Children aged three and under are free; children aged four to 12 can get tickets for $2.
Thayer wanted to remind attendees that there will be no coolers or chairs allowed in the park during the event, but there will be stadium seating in front of the entertainment.
Visit http://www.goseafoodfestival.com or call the Chamber of Commerce at 745-3444 for additional information or to register as a volunteer for the event.