Festival of Food & Fun For Families

Ruskin Seafood FestivalThe Ruskin Seafood Festival is celebrating its 20th year as South Hillsborough County’s largest community event.
Last year, over 18,000 people enjoyed the arts, crafts, music and sumptuous seafood. “We hope we’ll have 20,000 visitors for our 20th anniversary,” said Melanie Morrison, executive director of the Ruskin Chamber of Commerce.
As part of the anniversary celebration, this year’s festival promises to leave all visitors entertained and full. Visitors may feast on a bevy of seafood fare, including lobster, oysters, clams, grouper, mullet, shrimp and other savory seafood samples.
Festival visitors can enjoy eating the fresh seafood while listening to live musical performances on the main stage, showcasing an array of musical styles including jazz, reggae, pop, blues, country and gospel. Many local bands will be performing, including T-Blue and Off The Cuff. There will also be “strolling” performers throughout the weekend.
If dining or dancing isn’t for you, there are many exhibits designed to appeal to the masses. A popular choice for festival-goers is the boat show that promises an extravaganza of powerboats, pleasure boats, flat boats, bass boats, cruisers and nautical accessories to appeal to any boat lover.
Keeping true to the tradition of the event, various artists and craftsman will be displaying and selling their handiwork. A new addition to the marketplace this year is an “upscale” craft section. Other exhibits include educational and wellness displays, commercial exhibits and environmental and wildlife exhibits.
New to the festival this year is the “Paws”-ability area that will showcase local vendors that specialize in pet services. Croc Encounters, Lowry Park Zoo and Sarasota’s Mote Marine will all be participating in this new animal section.
“Also new this year, the 2009 Honorary Mayor of Ruskin will be announced at the main stage on Saturday at 12:45 p.m.,” said Morrison.
The event will also host a popular children’s area where kids can be entertained for hours playing on inflatable rides, games, activities and interactive live entertainment that includes magicians, jugglers and clowns. There will also be a Kids’ Costume Contest on Saturday at 2 p.m. on the main stage; parents may register on the festival Website or in person by 1 p.m. on Saturday before the contest.
The Ruskin Seafood Festival is held at E.G. Simmons Park, located at 2401 19th Ave. N.W. in Ruskin, on November 1 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and November 2, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The cost is $5 for adults (children under 12 are free). Parking is free and a shuttle service is provided as well as handicap parking facilities. The event is alcohol-free and pet friendly. (Pets must be on a leash).
For more information about the festival, visit www.ruskinchamber.org and click on the “Ruskin Seafood” icon or call 645-3808.