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Fort Myers Beach 60th Annual Shrimp Fest set for March 10, 11

January 10, 2018
Jessica Salmond - News Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

* Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly listed the days of the festival. The Shrimp Festival will be held March 10 and 11

It's only two months away from Fort Myers Beach's biggest festival.

The shrimp festival has been described as a holiday for the beach, a time for locals to gather together and former residents to return to their favorite 7-mile island.

And this year, the Fort Myers Beach Lions Shrimp Festival will be celebrating its 60th anniversary.

"We're up and running," said Lions President, Fred Schmiesing.

The fest is still two months out, but it's already time to start registering for its many events.

The arts and crafts expo, held in Lynn Hall Park during the two-day event, is already three-quarters full, said Ted Clifton, the expo coordinator. It holds 118 spaces for vendors; 18 are for food, which are already full; 96 for original and handmade item vendors; and the remainder are reserved for lcoal organizations.

"We'll accept applications until we're full," Clifton said. "There's always a few who cancel out at the last minute."

To sign up to be a vendor, visit or email Clifton at It costs $275 to register for the weekend.

The Shrimp Festival pageant is under new leadership this year. After years of organizing the festival's princesses and queens, Tracey Gore is handing the scepter to Buffy Roper.

Roper moved to Fort Myers Beach from Boston, but has been visiting the beach since she was 5 years old, she said. She's been a long-time organizer of the pageant for the Apple Blossom Festival in Boston, so the beach's contest won't be a new experience for her. She's working to "revamp" the Shrimp Festival pageant and will really start work on it in the next week or two.

"It's going to be awesome," Roper said.

In the meantime, Roper said anyone interested in the pageant can get in contact with her via email at or call her at 978-846-3596.

Schmiesing will begin delivering $15 festival t-shirts and hats to local businesses who would like to sell them through January and February. A new design has been picked each year, and this year's no different. The new logo features a shrimp boat returning to harbor with an abstract pier, surrounded by the famous "pink gold" Gulf shrimp, of course.

Updates and more information about the festival are available on the website, but Schmiesing also suggests checking the event's Facebook page,

"We're heading toward getting more publicity online, we're doing a lot of Facebook," Schmiesing said.

The parade will be held Saturday, March 10. Staging is held in the Bay Oaks Recreation Center parking lot, behind the Fort Myers Beach Public Library.

"We don't have to battle the new road construction this time," Schmiesing said.

Cypress Lakes High School Athletic Director Liam Farrell is once again running the races this year. A free kids beach run will be held Saturday, March 3, a week before the festival.

The annual Shrimp Run 5K will be held at 9a.m. Saturday, March 10, before the parade. Registration for the race is open and ongoing: visit and search for The Shrimp Run 5k. Individuals can register for $35 a person; groups of five or more can register at $25 per person.

The race begins and ends at Doc Ford's, 708 Fisherman's Wharf, and the course takes runners twice over the Matanzas Pass Bridge - so start your training soon!



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