The 50th Annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival will be celebrated on May 3, 4 & 5, 2013 as "The Year of the Golden Shrimp". Held in the heart of historic downtown Fernandina Beach on beautiful Amelia Island since 1964, the free admission Shrimp Festival offers a fully juried Fine Arts and Crafts show and a popular Antiques and Collectibles Area on Saturday and Sunday with over 375 booths. The downtown merchants hold a sidewalk sale during the day on Friday prior to the Festival, which officially starts at 6:00 pm (there are NO fine arts & crafts or antiques vendors on Friday). Pirates entertain the crowd during two "invasions", one Friday night followed by Fireworks and one on Saturday afternoon. The Shrimp Festival is a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event for 2013 and has been recognized by Sunshine Artist Magazine as one of the top 200 outdoor festivals in the United States. The festival also features the Kids Fun Zone (25+ booths), live entertainment on the Riverfront Stage, and under the Kids Fun Zone Pavilion, plus shrimp prepared every way imaginable by 25 food booths all staffed and run exclusively by Nassau County non-profit groups as fund-raisers. The Shrimp Festival encompasses the 8-block length of Centre Street down to the intra-coastal waterway and one block on both side and hosts over 130,000 visitors annually. Several contests are held, including the Miss Shrimp Festival Scholarship Pageant, Little Pirate Contest, Beard Contest and Ice Cream Eating Contest. Sunday features the Blessing of the Fleet and the Best Decorated Shrimp Boat Contest. Outside events include the McArthur Family YMCA 5K Fun Run and the Shrimp Festival Putt-Putt Doubles Tournament at the beach. Public and private school artwork from all schools in Nassau County have a special display area in the festival on North 4th Street. Park and ride shuttle bus transportation to and from off-site parking staffed by charitable organizations. Further information about events, schedule of events, entertainment, contests and maps can be found on the website www.shrimpfestival.com. Like us on Facebook for timely announcements.