Shrimp festival vendor bolts over changes

Published On: Apr 02 2014 02:56:55 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 02 2014 08:09:25 PM EDT

The Shrimp Producers Association has been part of the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival in Fernandina Beach since it began almost 50 years ago. But next month the association says it will not be a vendor because of two different complaints.


Changes are underway for the 51st annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival in Fernandina Beach.

The festival, set for May 2-4, brings in more than 120,000 people and $17 million to Nassau County. But this year the festival will be different.

A month before the event, one vendor, the Shrimp Producers Association, said it's pulling out after a tift with festival organizers over the location of where it is allowed to set up. Michael Adams, a member of the association, said it also has to do with a disagreement over whether some of the shrimp at the festival is local.

"It's kind of like a slap to the face when they put you from the front row to the back row," Adams said.

Festival organizers say the top vendors get the best spots. The Shrimp Producers is usually one of the top sellers, but last year it wasn't.

"It's not a move off the waterfront. We also have booths up and down Centre Street," Shrimp Festival chairman Mark Deaton said. "We're just moving them to the other side of this main food area. It's not a huge move."

Adams said he's also not happy that non-local shrimp will be sold.

"We don't like the idea of raised shrimp, imported shrimp," he said.

"We'll have a variety of shrimp," Deaton said. "We encourage our vendors to use 'wild caught' local shrimp when possible -- and an emphasis on wild caught opposed to farm raised."

Deaton said vendors have to display where the shrimp is coming from.

Adams said the Shrimp Producers Association has been a part of the festival since it began.

"I hope the shrimp festival is a success, but we can't support some of the community activities if they're not going to support our organization," Adams said.

"We regret it, but they are one of over 40 vendors," Deaton said. "All of our food vendors are nonprofit organizations in Nassau County."

Deaton said if the Shrimp Producers Association wants to be a part of the organization again, it may be a possibility. But right now it has other vendors who want to be a part of it.

Adams said the association hopes to be a part of the shrimp festival in Mayport the second weekend in May.


The views expressed below are not those of News4Jax or its affiliated companies. By clicking on "Post," you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and your comment is in compliance with such terms. Readers, please help keep this discussion respectful and on topic by flagging comments that are offensive or inappropriate (hover over the commenter's name and you'll see the flag option appear on right side of that line). And remember, respect goes both ways: Tolerance of others' opinions is important in a free discourse. If you're easily offended by strong opinions, you might skip reading comments entirely.

blog comments powered by Disqus