The 28th annual Carrabelle Riverfront Festival, a two-day street festival that sets sail this weekend, promises to be a fabulous down-home celebration.
The event, which opens Friday, April 27 from 4 to 8 p.m., and continues from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday Marine Street along Marine Street on the Carrabelle River features regional folk life, maritime activities and educational demonstrations, live entertainment, children’s activities, a vintage car show, arts & craft vendors, local seafood, and traditional fair foods.
This year festival hours have been extended until later into Saturday evening. Admission to this family friendly and pet friendly event is free.
Hardy souls will have a chance to make it to hell and back when the Tate’s Hell and Back 5K returns Saturday morning at 8 a.m. As the sun rises, participants will run or walk along River Road to the edge of Tate's Hell State Forest and back. The reward for that bravery is a cool medal, lots of race goodies, a race t-shirt and door prizes. Runners can sign up ahead of time or on race day. Registration forms can be found “Things to Do” at www.carrabelle.org. All proceeds benefit the Franklin County Senior Center in Carrabelle.
At the festival, come experience the rich culture, natural resources and local history of the region on Avenue B, hosted by the Carrabelle History Museum, which will feature educational activities, interactive displays and installations, folk craft demonstrations, local and state resource experts, and the hands-on Sea Mobile with live sea critters galore. Bone up on survival skills by learning to use a flint to start a fire, or learn to identify edible local plants and natural remedies. Discover local history and learn how Carrabelle was transformed into a training camp during World War II or what the keeper of a lighthouse recorded in his daily log. Discover the booms and busts of Carrabelle’s history by stepping back to by-gone eras when local logging and lumber merchants, steamships, party boats and shrimping vessels lined the river.
Next-up along Marine Street is the Pirates of the Carrabellean Academy on Avenue C, hosted by the Nest Program. Just for the kids, academy classes will be held for young’uns looking to refine their high sea skills. This pirate “boarding” school transforms young lads and lassies into well-mannered scalawags ready for adventures on the high seas. A special free children’s mini-train ride, a chance to purchase a wristband for all-day bouncy house fun, face painting artist vendors and this year’s newest craze, “Angry Birds” are among the adventures that await.
The festival’s very own crazy Fishy Fashion Show will be making a splash in its 12th year. Runway models, including the Red Tide She-Devil, the Good Friar/Fryer, Sea Vamp and Maritime Marshall, show off nautical-themed outfits made from found and recycled materials like sea nets, old beach umbrellas, oyster sacks, sails, sponges, and washed up debris. This year there will be several new characters making a miraculous appearance. This signature event - part runway show, part comedy sketch - will be making waves on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the main stage. Limited seating available, show up early.
A variety of live entertainment will feature a performance by the Tallahassee Community College Dancers, the legendary Procession of Tate’s Hell (costumed celebration of Cebe Tate and native wildlife), and the always hilarious Pet Show sponsored by the Mystic Krewe of Salty Barkers are just a few of the choices.
The pet show promises prizes for lots of traits including best tricks, costumes, smiles, waggly tails and more. Each registered pet will strut their stuff in the show ring at the stage area. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and judging begins at 11 a.m. Registration fee of $5 per pet will be donated to the Franklin County Humane Society. Call Caroline at 850-624-8085 for information.
Musical acts include the Naked Water Band (Cody Barber & Phillip Nelson), Low Country Boyle (Susan David & friends), Debi Jordan, Cypress Trio, Frank Lindamood, and Van Johnson. This year the “Big Daddy & Red Hot Java” will headline the main stage on Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. This band blends down home Chicago roots with New Orleans rifts and highlights weaving of mix of blues, jazz and soul is a one-of-a-kind experience.
Over 60 arts and craft vendors have joined the festival and more are still being added. Gullet’s Cove food court will feature an array of festival treats, so grab a morsel and sit a spell at the Carrabelle Wharf Pavilion hosted by the senior citizens.
The festival is hosted by the city of Carrabelle, with community partners including the Carrabelle History Museum, Carrabelle Chamber of Commerce, local businesses, sponsors, state and national park and agency partners, non-profits, and community collaborators.