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Thousands of Pounds of Shrimp Ready for 48th Annual Shrimp Festival

10:26 PM, Apr 29, 2011   |    comments
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FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. -- The Shrimp Festival in Fernandina Beach is underway with plenty of music, pirates, and of course, shrimp!

Volunteers at the St. Michael's Parish booth made a cajun shrimp boil on Friday afternoon while a few tents over, members of the Fernandina Beach Pirates Club practiced their best swashbuckling.

"We do a skit every year and we have sword fights with plastic and wooden swords," said Donald "Gator" Thrift with the pirate club. 

Despite all the shows and music, shrimp is the main attraction.

Charlie Taylor of Atlantic Seafood Bait and Tackle is supplying 10 of the non-profit vendor booths this weekend. "Probably about 4,000 lbs. of shrimp for this weekend," said Taylor. 

Last year, many here were concerned about seafood since the festival fell right after the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf. This year the talk is high gas prices. Organizers said shrimpers are paying more for diesel to run the boats.

"The diesel and the shrimp boats - it is hurting them badly, and if they don't have a good day, they lose money," said Taylor.

"So there is pressure on the expense side. Unfortunately, the shrimpers aren't able to pass that on 100 percent to consumers. Our prices are still relatively low for seafood," said Gil Langley, a spokesman for the Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Bureau.  

With most plates this weekend going for less than $10, organizers and shrimpers hope a good Shrimp Fest will translate into a good season and good profits.

MORE: Information on the Fernandina Beach Shrimp Festival

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