The 23rd annual Carrabelle Riverfront Festival will be held Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27, again celebrating “The Pirates of the Carrabellean.” Established traditions, new features and attractions, great arts and crafts, fresh local seafood and tasty festival treats promise all who attend this family and pet friendly event a delightful time on Marine Street along the beautiful Carrabelle River.
Admission is free throughout, on Friday 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This year’s theme will encompass “flash mob” style street theatre from a pirate actors troupe, and a skit or two on the main stage near the pavilion. Vendors, volunteers and festival attendees are invited to dress as their favorite pirate; festival T-shirts and decorations will complete the motif.
Friday night prime time will feature the musical stylings of “Southern Satisfaction,” a Tallahassee based five-member band performing a mix of classic rock, disco, pop, R&B and country, from the 50’s up to current hits.
On Saturday, talent abounds with the roster of musicians featuring “Nashville Writers in the Round.” Carrabelle resident Karen Brooks has written hit songs for Emmy Lou Harris, Crystal Gayle, and Tanya Tucker as well as her own recordings with Warner Records, including a duet with Johnny Cash.
Brooks’ songwriter pals are coming to check out our quaint little fishing village. Woody Mullis, Steve Williams and Mike Geiger will perform their original songs made popular by George Strait (Adelaide), Montgomery Gentry (Cold One Comin’ On), Craig Morgan (Redneck Yacht Club), Neal McCoy (The City Put the Country Back in Me), to mention a few.
Other toe-tappin’ talent includes local area musicians Tinhorn, who beautifully blend bluegrass and old country with amazing vocals, awesome mandolin and plucky stand-up bass.
The national historic landmark “Governor’s Stone,” a 65 foot two masts schooner built in 1877, will return to the Carrabelle River for the festival. This one-of-a-kind wooden ship will be available for boarding and pictures. Weather and scheduling permitting, the vessel may be available for short trips out to the bay. Check at the dock south of the main stage for more information
Returning to grace the Carrabelle Wharf pavilion are the fabulous models of the festival’s Fishy Fashion Show. Each year the outrageous DOs and DO KNOTs of coastal couture are revealed with festive flair as Joan Matey of Lanark and Jan Neshat of Crawfordville present the annual fashion show collection. Show time is Saturday at 2 p.m. at Main Stage.
Also returning as a headline event, Carrabelle’s home-town version of the wildly popular Procession of the Species, highlights the wild and wonderful denizens of the Forgotten Coast. The procession is an annual springtime march and symbolic retreat to the pine trees and swamps of the Panhandle. The procession begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday from the Main Stage.
Round up your wonderful pets and enter them in the Pet Parade, to strut their stuff and show off before the judges in the viewing ring at 10 a.m. on April 27 at the festival. Entry forms and additional information can be found on the Carrabelle Chamber of Commerce website. After judging, all pets can be admired as they parade down the midway before crowds who will vote for the People's Choice award.
Folks interested in the wilder side of Carrabelle may want to explore the untamed wilderness of the “New” Nature Walk (Ave C). This attraction features touch tanks and exhibits teeming with marine life, mammals, birds, reptiles and various critters of the coast.
Carrabelle’s historic Carr’s Hill in the middle of the festival promenade will showcase our local museums. The Carrabelle History, Crooked River Lighthouse and Camp Gordon Johnston museums will feature exhibits, demonstrations, tours and traditional music. Historic and archaeological sites from neighboring counties will also share artifacts and fascinating stories. Demonstrations of cooking hoecakes Civil War style, wooden boat building, and braided rug making will be presented. Interesting info on extracting salt from seawater, Carrabelle’s Civil War skirmish, and the early sponge industry will also be on tap. Frank Lindamood will set the mood with incredible banjo playing.
What kid wouldn't want to be a pirate? At the Pirate School, young folks can learn to walk, talk, sing, work, dress, and play like pirates. Would-be pirates can walk the plank, dig for treasure, shoot down a pirate flag, and hear pirate stories. This supervised event also has a face painting artist, bouncy house, and water slide to enjoy. Boys and girls can even have photo op wearing pirate garb to prove they had a great day at the Pirate Training Camp.
The festival is hosted by the city of Carrabelle each year on the fourth weekend in April. Carrabelle CARES, a local non-profit, coordinates the festival on behalf of the city and community for the first time this year. Various organizations from the community will host special venues, events, exhibits and attractions throughout the festival area over the two-day celebration.
The festival is sponsored in part by the Tourist Development Council, INNOVIA Consulting Group, Centennial Bank, Weems Memorial Hospital and Progress Energy. For more information, call Steve Allen at 850-320-8225 or check out www.carrabelleriverfrontfestival.com