Déjà vu — Shrimp Festival Canceled Again For 2nd Consecutive Year

The cancellation of Amelia Island’s largest attendance event of the year is a continuing sign of the times.

Two Spring Seasons Without Shrimp Festival

For the second time in its long running history that spans more than a half century, the annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, normally held the first weekend in May, has officially been canceled in 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic. While many understand why Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival organizers made the decision to cancel the event again this year in 2021, plenty are disappointed, nevertheless.

Shrimp Festival Crowds, Centre Street, Fernandina Beach downtown photo
Shrimp Fest Crowds On Centre Street, Fernandina (photo from archives)

The cancellation of Amelia Island’s largest attendance event of the year is a continuing sign of the times both locally and across the nation. Unfortunately, fallout from the pandemic continues.

Fernandina’s annual Shrimp Festival has so much history in this riverfront city, known as the “birthplace of the modern shrimping industry in America.” The long-running tradition means a lot to the local community. It’s also enjoyed by thousands — well over 100,000 — who visit Amelia Island during the Festival. Some have attended the weekend festival each year throughout their lives.

Shrimp Festival Food Booths at Fernandina riverfront, Non-Profits
Shrimp Festival Food Booths at Fernandina riverfront (Non-Profits)
Double Whammy For Non-Profits

For local non-profits – from school organizations to churches and associations – it’s the second year in a row that their biggest annual fundraising event will not take place. Non-profits provide food and beverage for the Shrimp Festival, all the concession booths at the Fernandina riverfront (pictured above), and others spread around downtown blocks during the Festival. They’re experiencing a double whammy, since none will be ringing up Shrimp Festival sales, once again, this year.

The Shrimp Festival organization released a statement via Facebook on January 27, 2021, detailing the event cancellation and mentioned a tentative scaled-down autumn event:

“This was a difficult decision, for the Executive Board and Committee Directors, to cancel the Shrimp Festival for a 2nd year, but we have to take into account the health & safety of all of our volunteers, sponsors, vendors, and of course, the general public…”

Fernandina “Falling For Shrimp,” Event, Autumn 2021

The Shrimp Festival Committee further stated the organization “is hoping to host a “Falling for Shrimp” weekend on Saturday & Sunday, October 2-3rd, 2021. Although this won’t be the normal Shrimp Festival, it will have numerous aspects…  There won’t be a parade or Kids Fun Zone at this event, and the footprint downtown will be smaller, but we will still have lots of shrimp to eat & enjoy!”

The “Falling For Shrimp” October 2021 event may provide non-profits with the chance to raise some funds, but not like the opportunity presented by the huge Shrimp Festival.

For updated information about the fall festival, check the Shrimp Festival’s website in late summer/early fall 2021 for further news.