One of the Coastal Empire’s biggest events starts at 5 p.m. Friday at J.F. Gregory Park in Richmond Hill, when the 20th annual Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival gets under way.
The festival, which draws an estimated 35,000 annually, includes a weekend’s worth of food, rides, crafts and entertainment – including this year’s headliner, country music performer Travis Tritt.
And while the Seafood Fest typically lives up to its name as a place to get great seafood prepared in a lot of different ways, there’s also a wide variety of other food available, such as barbecue, and including local favorites such as kettle popcorn from the Boy Scout Order of the Arrow and Boy Scout Troop 400’s very famous peach cobbler.
The GOSF is the Richmond Hill/Bryan County Chamber of Commerce’s largest annual fundraiser, and it has resulted in tens of thousands of dollars in donations to local nonprofits.
Among the sponsors are the RHBCCC, Southern Eagle Distributing and a wide range of local and area businesses, including the Bryan County News.
Here’s what you need to know, starting with what it will cost you to get into the park.
Admission to the park varies depending on what day.
Friday: Festival runs from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. $8 advance, $10 day of. Ages 5 and under free.
Saturday: Festival is from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. $15 advance, $20 day of. $25 after 5 p.m. Ages 6-12 $10. Ages 5 and under free.
Sunday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. $6 all day.
Be sure to have a valid ID for beer. Beer tickets are $5 each Only Anheuser Busch products are served. No Sunday beer sales. Service and convenience fees apply to credit card beer purchase. Beer ticket sales stop at 10 p.m. nightly. Beer pouring stops at 10:30 p.m., and unused beer tickets are not refundable.
Here’s a look at what’s happening during the weekend:
Music: 5:30 to 7 p.m. Brian Fuller Band, 7 to 9 p.m. Luke Lander, 9:30 to 11 p.m. Liquid Ginger.
6:15 to 6:30 p.m. Welcome ceremony, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Chuck Courtney, 8:15 to 9:15 p.m. Tyler Reese, 9:30 to 11 p.m. Travis Tritt.
Music 12:30 p.m. Lynn Avenue
Wrist bands for unlimited rides can be purchased online in advance at www.innovativeticking.com. Just look for Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival 2018.
The all day ride tickets are $20 in advance each day. Day of all-day ride prices are $25 per day. Individual tickets can be purchased for rides.
There is no onsite parking, but there are signs around Richmond Hill for designated parking lots and complimentary shuttle buses will run to and from the lots 30 minutes prior to each day’s opening events and continue throughout festival hours.
Designated parking areas:
Richmond Hill Pre-K campus, 120 Constitution Way, Richmond Hill Primary School, 471 Frances Meeks Way, Richmond Hill Elementary, 473 Frances Meeks Way, Goodwill/Goodies 9701 Ford Avenue Richmond Hill, First Baptist Church, 9184 Ford Avenue .TheGOSF website warns that parking could be changed without notice. In addition, some businesses will offer parking for a fee. These aren’t monitored or sanctioned by Seafood Festival organizers.
There’s also a handicapped parking area. If you have a government-issued handicapped sticker or tag, police officers will direct you to the handicapped parking area.
Finally, the rules.
No pets apart from certified service animals. No skateboards, scooters, bikes. No “yard” games. No coolers. No video recording. And no alcohol can be brought into, or out of, the festival.
Severe weather can impact the festival.
Other than that, have fun.
All of the above information is available at www.goseafoodfestival.com and on the group’s Facebook page.