St. Marks Stone Crab Festival
St. Marks Stone Crab Fest

Florida’s seafood festival season kicks into high gear during October, coinciding with the opening of stone crab season on Oct. 15.

As we greet the first “cool” fronts of the season and tortuous humidity dissipates, October is the time of year when Floridians start to emerge from summer hibernation.

What better time to celebrate the season than with a few authentic Florida seafood festivals!

Here are a few of our favorites


Destin Seafood Festival: Oct. 4-6, 2019

DESTIN — Although Stone Crab season has not yet begun, we included this festival because great pride is taken here in serving other local catches from the Gulf of Mexico. The festival is in its 37th year and sprawls along the Destin Harbor Boardwalk. The main attraction, of course, is the food being served by 28 vendors, including local favorites AJ’s, Brotula’s Seafood House and the Boathouse Oyster Bar.

With four entertainment stages, the festival offers a potpourri of local musical acts from the rock, reggae, country and tropical music genres. Admission to the festival is free. For more information, visit Destin Seafood Festival web site

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Cedar Key Seafood Festival: Oct. 19-20, 2019

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CEDAR KEY — Looking for old Florida? This rustic outpost on the Gulf’s “forgotten coast” has a rich fishing history, and it is the nation’s No. 1 supplier of farm-raised clams, succulent red-tinged littlenecks that make your mouth water just looking at them. We love Cedar Key clams, and you’ll love their annual seafood festival. In addition to locally harvested seafood, the festival boasts more than 200 arts and crafts booths with live entertainment around town, day and night.

The Cedar Key Seafood Festival is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and features more than 200 arts and crafts exhibits, live music, a parade Saturday morning and loads of great local seafood. Bluegrass music is the featured entertainment. For more information, read Florida Rambler’s full story.

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St. Marks Stone Crab Festival: Oct. 26, 2019

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 ST. MARKS – This community festival has been celebrating the opening of stone crab season every year since 1997, but this historic little fishing village has been around a lot longer than that.  St. Marks was first settled 1527 at the confluence of the Wakulla and St. Marks rivers, near where they empty into Apalachee Bay, and stone crabs are not a sport here, it’s their business.  The weather is always perfect towards the end of October, so enjoy the great food, music, parade and, of course, the crowning of the Stone Crab Queen!

The festival provides a venue for local musicians and artisans. Proceeds from the festival are donated to charities in St. Marks and the surrounding area.  Festival web site

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John’s Pass Seafood Festival — Oct. 18-20, 2019

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 MADEIRA BEACH – This festival is held at the colorful but touristy John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk on Gulf Boulevard on the busy barrier island separating St. Petersburg from the Gulf.  This festival is more of a promotional event for the village’s 150 shops rather than a celebration of the seafood industry.

Entertainment schedule (all free): Thursday, rock concert; Friday, Halloween Block Party; Saturday, country music; Sunday, beach party music. The festival features a juried art show, street dance, fishing expo, seafood vendors and entertainment on the Food Court Stage. For more information, visit the Johns Pass Festival web site

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Naples Stone Crab Festival: Oct. 25-27, 2019

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 NAPLES — This is the 7th year for the Naples Stone Crab Festival, which celebrates the kickoff of the stone crab season on the waterfront in upscale Naples.  Sponsored by the Old Naples Waterfront Association, the festival is designed to show off the historic center of Naples.  It also helps that this area of the Gulf Coast, especially the Ten Thousand Islands, is one of Florida’s prime stone crab harvesting regions.  Most of the events are hosted at waterfront businesses. Free water taxis will transport you to all waterfront locations participating in the festival.  For more information, visit the Festival web site

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For a complete schedule of seafood festivals in Florida, check out our  2019 Florida Seafood Festival Calendar