Seafood. Rides. Arts and crafts. More seafood. Fun things for kids to do. Fun things for adults to do. Music performances by nationally known recording artists, along with regional – and local – favorites.
All are on tap in Richmond Hill beginning Friday when the 16th annual Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival presented by Southern Eagle Distributing gets under way at J.F. Gregory Park.
But what organizers say is the largest event of its kind and one which annually brings an estimated 30,000 people to Richmond Hill over “Seafood Fest” weekend, didn’t just happen overnight. What was once a local festival which drew a few hundred people to the Fisherman’s Co-Op in the late 80s was resurrected in 1998 when then-Mayor Richard Davis asked the Richmond Hill Bryan County Chamber of Commerce to bring the festival back and hold it at J.F. Gregory.
“We had approximately 8,000 people attend that first festival 16 years ago, and everybody, even the volunteers, paid $1 to get in,” said Proctor said. “That’s how we got a count of how many people were there. Back then we didn’t have arts and crafts or the carnival, we just had the pavilion with a few chamber businesses displaying their wares and seafood, and some local bands performed just on Saturday night, and that was it.”
It didn’t take long for organizers to realize they had a winner. The Seafood Fest’s mix of family friendly entertainment, local and regional vendors and plenty of good food was a sure recipe for success.
“We knew after that first year that it was going to be a hit,” Proctor said. “We knew the community would support it, even with very little advertising. There was just something about it that made us know we wanted to continue it.”
This year’s headline act is Grammy winner Blues Traveler, and a number of other national, regional and local favorites are scheduled to perform over the weekend, including Jake Miller, the Swingin' Medallions
For more information on the entertainment, check out www.goseafoodfeatival.com.