Last updated on March 4th, 2020 at 02:09 pm

grant seafood festival
Grant Seafood Festival grounds at night (Photo by Lee Spitzkopf)

Grant Seafood Festival

Feb. 29 to March 1, 2020

GRANT-VALKARIA, FL — This sprawling rural community on the Indian River has celebrated its heritage as a fishing village every year since 1966, using the proceeds from the festival for community projects, a scholarship fund, the Grant Library and the Grant Historical House on the Indian River.

I’ve been to this festival twice in recent years, and I can’t say enough about how much fun we had. We parked our camper at a friend’s house in Grant for the entire weekend, and we return often, even when there are no festivals, to campgrounds near the Sebastian Inlet.

We love this stretch of the Indian River Lagoon with its oyster bars and clam beds, an eco-system that nourishes a thriving marine environment harboring an abundance of redfish, black drum, spotted sea trout, snook and tarpon.

Great fishing and great kayaking in the lagoon and the St. Sebastian River, which feeds the lagoon.

Grant Seafood FestivalThe Grant Seafood Festival is a community event that is run by volunteers from the Grant-Valkaria community, population 4,000.

More than 125 crafters and artists from across the country exhibit their creativity during the two-day festival. The Grant Library holds its annual book sale with hundreds of used books on sale. 

The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission and parking are free.

This area is also noted for kayaking and birdwatching opportunities, so plan a long weekend around this festival. 

Driving here on U.S. 1 alongside the scenic Indian River is half the fun. 


Seafood Offerings at the Grant Seafood Festival

This year’s menu includes oysters and clams, of course, and you’ll also find:

Grilled and fried Mahi-Mahi, Lobster Roll, Fried Shrimp, Shrimp & Tuna Kabobs, Linguini W/ Clam Sauce, Sweet Puppies, Manhattan and New England clam chowder, Deviled Crabs, Fried Scallops, Conch Salad, Peel & Eat Shrimp, Scallops, Conch Fritters, Shrimp & Grits, Gator Bites, Fried Clam Strips, Calamari, Crawfish, Lobster Bisque and maybe a frog leg or two from nearby Fellsmere.

The area’s craft brewing scene will also well-represented, showcasing local specialties alongside popular national brands.

Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken nuggets and french fries will also be served.

Most major credit and debit cards are accepted.


Here’s their story…

The Grant Seafood Festival is one of the longest-running seafood festivals in the country. Enjoy this promotional video about the festival and its scholarship program, courtesy of the Grant-Valkaria Community Center.

 


Entertainment at the Grant Seafood Festival

grant seafood stage Grant Seafood Festival, Feb. 29-March 1, 2020

This year’s line-up of artists performing on stage looks outstanding. Most of these entertainers are from Florida, many of them local from Vero Beach, Sebastian and Melbourne.

Sound Warning: Links below will take you to musical performances by the artists, some of which will auto-start. 

Saturday, Feb. 29

9:15 – 10:45 — George to Play

11:15 – 12:45 — Absolute Blue (Blues)

1:15 – 2:45 — Nightfly (Rock)

3:25 – 4:45 — Eli Mosely (Country)

5:15 – 6:45 — Sub Groove (Rock, R&B)

Sunday, March 1

9:30 – 11:00 — John Nugent (Classic Rock)

11:30 – 1:00 — Robbie A (Country)

1:30 – 3:00 — Tumbleweed (Rock)

3:30 – 5:00 — Jay Valor


Admission and parking are free

For easy access to free parking, follow signs posted on U.S. 1. Shuttles to the festival site will be available. The village of Grant is on U.S. 1 between Sebastian and Melbourne. 

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Visit the festival web site at www.grantseafoodfestival.com


Things to do nearby

Paddle, hike Turkey Creek in Palm Bay. A scenic kayak outing on Turkey Creek takes you to Palm Bay’s Turkey Creek Sanctuary, where you can explore 3.5 miles of trails. Along the way, see dolphins, manatees and other wildlife.

Surf, fish, camp and paddle Sebastian Inlet — Sebastian Inlet has always been a favorite destination: the fishing is terrific, the surfing is fine, the paddling is fun, you can go clamming in the shallows and the beaches are beautiful and pristine. Two well-maintained public campgrounds, Sebastian Inlet State Park and Long Point Park, are your gateway to the Indian River Lagoon.

Pelican Island: Oldest bird sanctuary in the US — President Teddy Roosevelt created this wildlife refuge in 1903 to stop plume-hunters from ravishing this three-acre island. Spring is a great time to visit.

Roughing it: St. Sebastian River Preserve — This 22,000-acre wilderness offers 60 miles of trails for hiking, biking and equestrians through five thriving wildlife habitats. Six primitive campsites allow you to really get away from it all.

Find a Campsite

Sebastian Inlet State Park (7 miles)

Sunshine Travel RV Resort (11 miles)

Long Point County Park (11 miles)

Wickham Park Campground (20 miles)

Find a Room

Hotels in Palm Bay

Sebastian area Hotels

B&Bs in Sebastian, FL2e106o26v0zKPNNPLTNKMLQUURUP Grant Seafood Festival, Feb. 29-March 1, 2020

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    How is the seafood priced? Is it included in the admission fee or do you pay individually for each item?
    Thank you,.

  2. Avatar
    Gregory Keyes

    RE: Mr. Roundtree reply. I’m thankful that the Festival fish supply is NOT supplied by the local source available. That would probably wipe it out if they did. Certainly so after a couple of years.

    • Bob Rountree

      The rising popularity of all seafood festivals has had the same impact. The best you can expect these days are a few select specialties harvested locally. It’s not a criticism. It is what it is. In most cases, the seafood is still fresh and likely still from somewhere in Florida.

  3. Avatar

    You state in your article that the fishing at Grant is awesome, and so is the seafood that we will enjoy at this annual festival.
    If the eco-system at Grant provides a thriving marine environment for redfish, black drum, spotted sea trout, snook and tarpon, why do the “local” vendors not sell any of the “local” fish at the Grant seafood festival?.

    • Bob Rountree

      Hi Larry… The fish species you mention, while thriving in the waters near Grant, can no longer be commercially harvested in Florida by law. You are correct in suggesting that local fish may not make it to “local” seafood festivals. The explanation I have received is that many of these seafood festivals have grown so large, it is impossible for the local fishing industry to fill the demand. As a result, the sponsors increasingly turn to wholesale suppliers such as Sysco for product. Sometimes that means going outside local markets for commercial catches. Such is the case in Grant, which I’m told is supplied by Sysco. I can see where my story might be misleading, and I will correct it to more accurately reflect the source of the seafood used in these festivals today, as opposed to earlier years. My apologies.

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