By the time festivities begin the last weekend of April 2022, three years will have passed since Fernandina Beach last held its famous Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival (back in 2019). The pandemic caused a long lapse of this storied annual tradition held here for more than half a century. The 57th celebration is happening this year. While always a popular 3-day event under normal circumstances, if “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” the 2022 Shrimp Festival could turn out to be wildly attended.
Friday Night Fireworks, April 29, 2022
Fernandina’s Shrimp Festival has something fun for everyone. A general crowd-pleaser is the FIREWORKS display on Friday evening (9:15 PM), happening April 29, 2022 at Fernandina’s riverfront. Others come for the entertainment, particularly the free concerts (also see related article about John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band). Families with younger children enjoy the KIDS FUN ZONE. Plus there’s the huge fine arts show and antiques vendors. Many like to browse and shop for something unique. However, it wouldn’t be the Shrimp Fest without its parade, featuring pirates in their ship and typically more than 100 entrants including marching bands, floats, dancers and gymnasts.
Fernandina’s Biggest & Best Parade Of The Year
Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival kicks off Fernandina’s famous festival with the fun and quirky Shrimp Festival Parade on Thursday evening, April 28, 2022 starting at 6 p.m. (held rain or shine). The 2022 Shrimp Fest parade theme is “Saltwater Cowboys.” For more parade info, see related article.
Fernandina’s Shrimp Festival 2022: Weekend Hours (Friday, April 29th To Sunday, May 1st, 2022)
FRIDAY, APRIL 29th, 2022 6 PM – 10PM (Waterfront food booths open early at 3 PM, Kids Fun Zone 5 PM). FIREWORKS display Friday night at 9:15 PM.
SATURDAY, APRIL 30th, 2022 9 AM – 6 PM (Waterfront food books stay open until 7 PM, Kids Zone 8 PM)
SUNDAY, MAY 1st, 2022 — Final Day 10 AM – 5PM
Free Admission To Fernandina’s Shrimp Festival
For newcomers who’ve moved to the area in the last few years (or visitors unfamiliar with Fernandina’s huge Shrimp Festival), there’s no admission fee to enter and roam the Shrimp Festival in the Fernandina Beach downtown historic district. Attendees also enjoy the free concerts at the riverfront stage (see 2022’s headliner bands playing further below).
During the Festival, shrimp boats will be docked at the city of Fernandina Harbor Marina downtown along the riverfront. One of the traditions of the Festival is the “Best Decorated Shrimp Boat” contest.
Originally Held To Celebrate Blessing of Shrimp Fleet
Fernandina is known as “birthplace of the modern shrimping industry in America.” The Festival began back in 1964 to celebrate the blessing of the shrimp fleet and featured shrimp boat races (formally called the “Shrimp Boat Festival”). This year in 2022, the blessing of the fleet is happening Sunday, May 1st at 1 p.m., followed by the “Decorated Shrimp Boat Parade & Contest.” Take a look back in time below at old photos courtesy of the “Florida Memory” archives (dated 1971). Below, on left Fernandina shrimp boat race, on right blessing of shrimp boat “Golden Isle.”
Kids Fun Zone (Located Near Fernandina Library)
Parents take note, the Kids Fun Zone this year in 2022 has been moved back to the location behind Fernandina’s library (for a few years it had been in Central Park). There will be rides for the kids, games, and face painting, plus live entertainment (Star Troopers and the Reptile Man).
Fine Arts & Crafts Show
A main feature of the Shrimp Festival is the huge juried art show administered by the Amelia Island Art Association. Fernandina’s downtown historic district streets are lined with hundreds of booths for art lovers to browse and buy something special. According to the association’s website, this year in 2022, $10,700 in prize money will be awarded to various artisans.
Vintage & Antiques, Collectibles Show
Like vintage jewelry, antique furniture, or cookware (and more) from past eras? Besides the artist booths, this year’s “Vintage & Antiques” vendors will offer many additional booths to browse. Combined with the fine arts show, this year’s Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival 2022 offers an opportunity to shop for lots of unique items for your home, your wardrobe or special gifts.
Food Booths At Shrimp Festival
Also for purchase, of course, is shrimp prepared various ways, including popular fried shrimp, shrimp boils and shrimp pie. The food booths are non-profits including area schools and churches and organizations such as the Amelia Island Museum of History (the museum will be offering their shrimp gumbo). Other festival favorites such as funnel cakes and fresh squeezed lemonade are also popular with attendees. The Shrimp Festival is an important fundraising event for local area non-profits.
Is alcohol sold during the Festival?
During the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, beer tents will serve adults aged 21+.
Flashback! Hear Million-Selling Hits of Past Eras Performed By Original Artists During “Rock & Pop Masters®” — Saturday, April 30, 2022
Taking the riverfront stage on Saturday at 4:30 p.m., is John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band. This performance will be the band’s third appearance in Fernandina Beach during the past 20 years at the Shrimp Festival. (Pictured below when Cafferty and the band were here on Amelia Island back in 2010).
Remember The “Eddie & The Cruisers” Movies?
John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band’s music was featured on soundtrack of the 1983 movie, “Eddie & The Cruisers” (with actor Michael Paré as character Eddie Wilson), and its sequel film, “Eddie & The Cruisers II – Eddie Lives!” (1989). Songs include “On The Dark Side”, “Tender Years”, “Tough All Over”, and “C.I.T.Y.” The Beaver Brown Band’s wonderful saxophone player, Michael “Tunes” Antunes, actually appeared in both movies.
Also performing during “Rock & Pop Masters®” on Saturday, April 30, 2022, is Peter Beckett (guitarist and lead vocalist of Player), plus the original lead singer and drummer of Rare Earth, Peter Rivera. According to the Isle of Eight Flags’ Facebook page, these “artists will perform the hits of their respective bands, backed by an incredible band of renowned musicians including percussionist Charlie Morgan, who toured and recorded for 13 years as drummer for Elton John.”
More About Peter Beckett
“As lead singer and guitarist for Player, Peter Beckett was the voice behind the band’s international number one hit, “Baby Come Back”, as well as their Top 10 hit, “This Time I’m in it for Love”… Peter was a member of the Little River Band for nine years as a featured performer, also writing several singles for the band.“SOURCE: Shrimp Festival 2022 Entertainment Schedule
More About Peter Rivera
“The original lead singer and drummer of legendary Motown rockers Rare Earth, Peter Rivera, is widely considered one of the greatest singers/drummers of all time. His soulful voice can be heard on the gold and platinum recordings of the mega-hits “Get Ready”, “Born to Wander”, “(I Know) I’m Losing You”, “Hey Big Brother”, and “I Just Want to Celebrate”.SOURCE: Shrimp Festival 2022 Entertainment Schedule
Swingin’ Medallions Perform Sunday, May 1, 2022
A local favorite and repeat performers at the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, back again this year on Sunday afternoon, May 1st, is the “Party Band of the South,” the Swingin’ Medallions. The band’s first set starts at 2 p.m., and after a break, they’ll be back on the riverfront stage for a second set at 3:45. The Swingin’ Medallions are the last performers to play the third and final day of the 2022 Shrimp Festival as it comes to an end, closing out the 57th celebration around 5 p.m. Sunday.
Shrimp Festival Parking, Fernandina Beach
The Festival “PARK & RIDE” lot with shuttle service is located at Fernandina Beach High School at 435 Citrona Avenue ($10 parking fee, a donation to the school). Then take the free shuttle service provided by Nassau Transit to the festival area downtown. FBHS parking/shuttle hours: Friday 5 to 11 p.m., Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Sunday hours are 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closer to the Shrimp Festival area downtown are a few “PARK & WALK” lots ($15 parking fee): Buccaneer Field (S. 11th St. and Beech St.), across the street from Central Park on Atlantic Ave., and at riverfront, the city’s lots C & D. Parking can be a challenge during the Shrimp Festival. Some attempt searching for a free parking spot along downtown side streets on the outskirts of Festival area.
Shrimp Festival 2022 Entertainment & Activities Schedule
For the full details of all the entertainment and activities happening from late Friday afternoon through Sunday, go to the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival 2022 entertainment schedule at official website.
Will Fernandina’s 2022 Celebration Set Attendance Record?
In past years, it’s been estimated over 100,000 attend the Shrimp Festival during the event weekend. Weather, of course, always plays its part at outdoor events. If Mother Nature cooperates throughout the weekend, this year’s Shrimp Festival could be one for the record books. Many have missed the celebration during its absence these last few years.