Friday 4 pm – 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
One of the locals’ favorite times of year is the Destin Seafood Festival, now in its 41st year! The three-day Fest in October will have you partying like it’s 1978 as it celebrates four decades +1 of family fun. So popular is this exciting, delicious, delectable event that more than 70,000 people are expected to walk through our beautiful and historic Destin Harbor and the Harbor Board Walk on Harbor Blvd. (Hwy. 98) during the weekend. So, the visitors like it, too! Happening Fri. through Sun., Oct. 4-6, the Festival kicks off October’s month-long Destin Fishing Rodeo.
You need no ticket to attend and you’ll get the opportunity to take in some of the best local and coastal musicians at the beach with four stages beckoning you to a variety of live rock, reggae, country, and tropical tunes and more. You can stroll along the Destin Harbor enjoying the arts and crafts where artists and vendors display their jewelry, clothing, sculpture, glass, watercolors, oil paintings, designs and more. And don’t forget your seafood festival T-shirt featuring this year’s poster artist Michael Seth Williams, The Drift Gallery, as well as others. Your child will delight in his or her own play area and there are events tailored just for the little ones.
And, if you’re a seafood lover, the big attraction is all the freshly caught local varieties provided by local eateries and restaurants such as Boathouse Oyster Bar, Landshark’s Pizza, Tailfins Alehouse & Oyster Bar, Dewey Destin Harborside, AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar, Harry T’s Lighthouse, Jackacudas Seafood & Sushi and Brotula’s Seafood House and Steamer, to name a few. There’s definitely plenty of seafood sizzle to be found—a sampling of Destin’s finest. After all, our beloved Destin IS also “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” and it delivers–grouper, shrimp, lobster, crab cakes, gumbo, sides and even crawfish— some of the Emerald Coast’s popular dishes.
Just get to the Destin Seafood Festival for some great feasting, frolicking and fun!
The Festival’s Roots
All of the yum and fun began in 1978 when the Destin Charter Boat Ladies Auxiliary decided to establish a festival to celebrate local fishermen. To this day, portions of the proceeds are donated to the Destin Fisherman’s Fund to help those in need and today is hosted by area businesses in conjunction with sponsors and countless volunteers.
Now a Destin tradition, it used to be only a one-day festival on “Kelly’s Hill,” a unique and beautiful location where folks could overlook the Destin Harbor, the current site of HarborWalk Village. It has always been held in conjunction with the Destin Fishing Rodeo during October and now kicks off the month-long event, also filled with a plethora of activities, and, of course, fishing!
The Destin Harbor provides the most beckoning backdrop as it overlooks the marina, the fishing fleets, sugary, white crystal sand and the eye-catching emerald green waters of the Gulf. Local Destin restaurants and eateries will be serving up their scrumptious seafood specialties on the docks and along the new, pedestrian-friendly Harbor Boardwalk. Cold drinks, including beer and wine, are available and will keep you cooled off while you take it all in.
Tips for your best experience at the Destin Seafood Festival:
This year’s musical entertainment, with four different stages, will have you singing, tapping and swaying to the beat. Harborwalk Village and Main City Stages will host local bands playing and entertaining throughout the festival. Harbor restaurants and bars will offer a full line-up of local favorites as well performing throughout the day and evening. You can bring a chair and chill or don your dancing shoes! Bands and schedule TBA. Visit DestinSeafoodFestival.com.
To Play (For the Kids)
There are Kids Zones for all ages. The East Pass Marina Kids Zone has pony rides, a petting zoo, and kids’ games geared towards younger kids and toddlers. There is a seating tent nearby so that you can take a break and cool down while the kids play. The HarborWalk Kids Fun Zone has Hamster balls, a rock-climbing wall and a zip line. There is a seating tent nearby also. Kids will delight in face-painting and tattoos as well.
Parking will be available at Heron Harbor, the HarborWalk Village, the Destin Community Center, and the Destin Fishing Museum.
Admission to the Destin Seafood Festival is totally free! You will want some “mula,” however, for all of the mouthwatering food and drinks you’ll find. If you’d rather, you can go as a VIP with passes that include a private VIP seating area that overlooks the Destin City Stage, complimentary unlimited food and refreshments that include a variety of seafood, gumbos and catered treats, soft drinks, and bottled water. To purchase a VIP pass, visit the official Destin Seafood Festival website. For a site map and other information, visit DestinSeafoodFestival.com.