Festivals / Southwest Florida

2016 Everglades City Seafood Festival: Feb. 12-14

Everglades Seafood Festival (Photo: Pat Williams)

Everglades Seafood Festival (Photo: Pat Williams)

Seafood lovers mark their calendars for the annual Everglades Seafood Festival, scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 12,13 and 14, 2016  in Everglades City, gateway to the Ten Thousand Islands.

This free event packs ’em in for fresh seafood, country music, carnival rides, crafts booths — with an estimated 50,000 people expected to attend to pack this small town (population 500) the three-day event.

Photo by Heather Culligan via Flickr

Everglades City, Florida’s “stone crab capital,” is an off-the-beaten-track pocket of Old Florida with many original buildings and a rich history steeped in the lore of pirates and smugglers, murder and mayhem, and some of the best fishing and freshest seafood anywhere in the state of Florida.

The old-fashioned neo-classical City Hall once served as Collier County’s main courthouse until the county’s population shifted north to nouveau Naples, 40 miles away. Everglades City, settled in the 1880s, has retained its small-town charm, if not it’s legendary character and characters.

The town’s first Seafood Festival was held in 1970 to raise money for playground equipment, and that charitable tradition is still alive and well with proceeds from the festival going to local causes and college scholarships for local students.

In addition to shiploads of fresh seafood served up by local fishermen and restaurants, this year’s festival will feature 100 arts and crafts booths, a carnival and continuous country music and bluegrass throughout the weekend.

Festival schedule:

Friday — 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday — 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday — 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

And there’s music — lots of it!

This is the 2015 entertainment schedule, which will updated with 2016 information when available.

Friday, Family Night
5:45 Charlie Pace
6:45 Lost Rodeo
7:30 Let’s Hang On Band
9:00 Jimmy Van Zant

craig-campbell_never-regret[1]10 a.m. Opening ceremony
10:45 Dance Company
Noon Ben Allen Band
1:00 The Watching
2:15 Them Hamilton Boys
3:30 Rachel Johnson
4:30 Craig Campbell (Nashville artist who has had five singles on the country chart)
6:30 Tim Elliott
7:45 Connor Blevins
9:00 The Watching

outshyne-pic-high-res[1]11 a.m. Opening ceremony
11:30 Tim Charron Band
12:45 Casey Weston
2:00 The Gladezmen
3:15 Tim Elliott
4:30 Outshyne  (The South Carolina-based group was recently profiled in Country Weekly.)


Getting there

Traffic can be tricky, so arrive early and bring your patience. (Many avoid that problem  by arriving on motorcycle. This is a favorite group outing for motorcycle clubs from Miami and Fort Lauderdale.) Parking is provided by local charities within walking distance of the festival.

A few tips: No pets, no coolers and be prepared to walk.

The Tamiami Trail makes a scenic route to Everglades City — here’s our guide to that road.

From the north, you can also take I-75 south to Collier Boulevard (County Road 951), south to U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail), then east to State Road 29, which will take you south into Everglades City.

From the Atlantic Coast, take Alligator Alley (I-75) west to SR 29, then straight south to Everglades City.

To help plan your trip:

Nearby RV and/or tent camping:

Find a room:

The Ivey House and Everglades Rod and Gun Club are historic lodges in Everglades City that are popular with visitors. Check availability of rooms at these and other hotels on Hotels.com: Find a room in Everglades City


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    • Hi Tena,
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  2. we are coming from Ft lauderdale,can you give us the easiest directions.thank you

    • From Ft Laud.. take I-75 west to hwy 29 south.. as soon as you cross over hwy 41, it is about 4 miles to the festival.. cant miss the signs, or the traffic lol. Worth it tho.. we had a great time!

  3. We went for three years and took a bunch of friends each year. Last year the seafood was twice the price and the food quality was not as good. It was still fun but our friends were very disappointed. I wrote it off to the trouble in the Gulf last year. This could be a pivotal year for our group and several others we talked with. C’mon Everglades City, we want your event to succeed!

  4. heather says:

    havent miss this… been going since i was 13 or younger.. im 25 now, and i look forword is this every year… thanx everglades city for putting on an icredible event…

  5. Looking forward to kicking off my 2012 tour at the Everglades Seafood Festival. My debut album on Nashville based Dixie Roads Records,In.c can be heard and purchased at http://www.warrensilvers.com

    I will be signing autographs after the show at a booth and selling merchandise so come up and say hello.

    I grew up in South Florida and have not been back since I moved to Nashville TN so I am excited to come back for my first show of my tour.

  6. denise horvat says:

    this is a dont miss.have not missed this for 25 years.i live here in everglades city.good or bad/IDONT KNOW

  7. Pingback: Stone crabs in Everglades City: Fresh from the source in a historic fishing town | Florida Rambler

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