Ladies' night: Pickler to play Seafood Festival

Kellie Pickler

Kellie Pickler

Kristin Barlowe | Special to the Times
Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 06:07 PM.

This November’s Florida Seafood Festival will be the golden anniversary of the state’s oldest maritime event, so it only made sense to break tradition with the choice of the festival headliner.

The festival board this week announced that for the first time since Kathy Mattea took the stage in 1992, the Saturday night feature entertainment will be a female artist.

Kellie Pickler, who at age 26 has risen to the top of the country charts as well as the incredibly popular television show “Dancing with the Stars,” will take the stage on Nov. 2 at Battery Park.

“Her music fits the area; she likes old country,” said John Solomon, president of the all-volunteer board of directors. “She’s just a good person; she is one of those goodhearted people.”

Solomon said the festival hasn’t made a deliberate effort to only feature male stars over the past two decades, but that top-notch female acts often carry a heftier price tag.

“They’re typically more expensive because there’s less of them. When they’re popular, they’re real expensive,” he said. “We just set out to get the best we could get, that we could afford.”

In Pickler, the festival found one of the nation’s most fast-rising stars, a North Carolina-born singer-songwriter who first gained fame as a contestant on the fifth season of American Idol, went on to release three popular albums and win a slew of awards, and then topped it all off this past May by winning the 16th season of “Dancing with the Stars” with her partner Derek Hough.

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