A festival fit for a king

John Solomon

John Solomon

Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 02:40 PM.

Whether it’s the cool breeze blowing or the fence going up around Battery Park, or even the flags going up along the historic parade route on Highway 98, whatever it is that makes you have that little tingle inside knowing what is about to happen.

It is the Florida Seafood Festival’s 50th anniversary at Battery Park in Apalachicola.

For 50 years members of the community has made sure a festival was held each year on the first weekend of November at Battery Park, celebrating our heritage and industry that have made this such a great community. This year, not being any different, 12 members of the volunteer board of directors of the festival have planned an event fit for a king (King Retsyo that is). The directors have worked all year to give the state’s oldest maritime event a 50th birthday like none other, by bringing back some of the old traditional activities.

The King Retsyo Ball makes its return to the schedule of events on Friday Nov. 1 at Fort Coombs Armory, starting at 9 p.m. and going until 1 a.m. The ball will have the band Crooked Shooz performing live and a buffet of local seafood dishes for all to enjoy.

The board also welcomes the return of the fireworks display to be held directly after the headline concert on Saturday, Nov. 2. The traditional events are still a big part of the festival and have been for many years.

The park opens at 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 1, with free admission all day. Musical entertainment begins at noon. The festivities begin at 4 p.m. with the Blessing of the Fleet on the east side of the park where local fishing vessels and pleasure boats will be blessed by local clergymen. The Blessing of the Fleet is an old tradition to hope for a safe return to all fishermen and for a bountiful harvest in the upcoming season.

Following the Blessing of the Fleet will be a procession of the Miss Florida Seafood Morgan Martin and King Retsyo Vance Millender from the Water Street gate to the information booth in the center of the festival grounds. There, opening ceremonies will be held with a welcoming speech from the queen and king, and some special guests to help celebrate this golden anniversary. Musical entertainment continues until the park closes at 11 p.m. headlined by country artist Tim Dugger.

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