Sun, songs and seafood

King Retsyo Smokey Parrish and Miss Florida Seafood Festival Christina Collins arrive aboard the Bud

King Retsyo Smokey Parrish and Miss Florida Seafood Festival Christina Collins arrive aboard the Buddy’s Boys.

Lois Swoboda
Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 09:56 AM.

From the opening of the gates on Friday morning to the much anticipated concert on Saturday night, the 49th annual Florida Seafood Festival came off without a hitch and lots of folks are calling it the best ever.

The weather was perfect with temperatures rising to 80 degrees during the day, clear blue skies and a light breeze.

More than a dozen boats came for the Blessing of the Fleet on Friday afternoon. As about 100 onlookers watched from shore, Moss Florida Seafood Christina Collins and King Retsyo Smokey Parrish arrived aboard the Buddy’s Boys shrimp boat. The eclectic collection of vessels included the shrimp boat Freedom that continued on to work afterwards; Floridays, a sailboat; sport fishing boats Stray Dog and Trash Can and Captain Gill’s charter houseboat the Lily. As the boats made their way to the pier, they were surrounded by a school of dolphins that raced and jumped in their wake.

The Rev. Themo Patriotis of the United Methodist Cooperative Parish, Rev. Martha Harris of Trinity Episcopal Church, Rev. Craig Hicks of Living Water Assembly of God, Rev. Barry Hand of the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Dr. John Sink and Sister Jeanne Drea of St. Patrick Catholic Church officiated at the blessing.

Micah Patriotis acted as crossbearer and Chris Clark performed on bagpipe.

The king and queen walked with their entourage to the heart of the festival where the royal couple was welcomed by Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson who praised the seafood workers and maritime trades as the foundation of the county economy.

Festival President John Solomon said that based on ticket sales, just under 30,000 people attended the festival, slightly fewer than last year but sales were brisk in the food court. Many of the food booths run by local not-for-profits sold out before the gates closed Saturday night. Solomon said, over the last three years, there has been an increase in participation by local food vendors. This year eight of the food booths were occupied by a not-for-profits, up two from last year.

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