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Destin Seafood Festival in Florida: Fall Event: Destin Restaurants, Live Music and Arts and Crafts Show at the Docks

Published by Lynn Salvatori

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Fish, shrimp, crabs and crawfish, grilled, fried, boiled or blackened, even alligator, it’s all here at the Destin Seafood Festival. Each fall, cooler, breezier weather beckons visitors to the docks in Destin, Florida the first weekend in October for the most delicious three days on the Gulf Coast.

Named by the Southeast Tourism Society as one of the Top 20 Fall Events in the Southeast, the Destin Seafood Festival is the place to be for fresh seafood. It is also the kick-off party for the month-long Destin Fishing Rodeo.

Destin Seafood Festival

Fresh seafood, prepared by some of the area’s most popular restaurants is the main feature. Local favorites like the Back Porch, Trader Vic’s, Caribbean Café and Louisiana Lagniappe serve up seafood specialties from grilled grouper to Cajun shrimp that can be washed down with a beer from McGuire’s Irish Pub.

The stage is packed all three days with top music makers. Local bands play dance tunes and prime audiences for the big acts like Mark Farner formerly of Grand Funk Railroad, the Commodores and Atlanta Rhythm Section, who entertain until closing.

Children’s activities such as giant slides, rides and a climbing wall entertain little ones, and arts and crafts booths offer a variety of clothing, jewelry, paintings, sculpture and collectibles.

Destin Fishing Rodeo

The month long Destin Fishing Rodeo kicks-off this weekend as well and visitors can walk along the docks to the weigh-in station to see the action. Established in 1948, the tournament awards prizes in a variety of categories and includes junior, teen, ladies and senior divisions.

Over 30,000 anglers participate each year and over $100,000 in cash and prizes is awarded. The Rodeo is open to both private and charter fishing boats and entry is free for pier, bridge, jetty and surf fishing.

Emerald Grande and HarborWalk Village

The Destin Seafood Festival takes place at the Destin Docks and on the grounds of Destin’s newest resort, Emerald Grande and HarborWalk Village, located at the mouth of the Destin harbor. Festival goers receive an admittance bracelet which allows them to leave the festival grounds and stroll to the waterfront and HarborWalk Village with its shops and restaurants.

Visitors may also walk along the docks to see charter fishing boats bringing in their day’s catch and go to the Destin Fishing Rodeo weigh-in station at A J’s Seafood & Oyster Bar.

Admission to the Destin Seafood Festival is $5 per day or $10 for three days. Children under 12 years of age are free. The festival takes place the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October. For more information about the Destin Seafood Festival, contact the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce at (850) 837-6241

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