It’s that time of year again. That time when the smell of perfectly cooked seafood and the sound of live local and national acts fill the air in J.F. Gregory Park.
That’s right, it’s time for the 15th annual Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival, which gets under way Friday and carries on through the weekend.
Upwards of 30,000 of eager festival-goers are expected to descend on Richmond Hill for the event’s signature seafood fare, carnival rides, live music, the Crab Crawl 5K and more.
“I think we’re going to hit a homerun this year,” said Seafood Festival Committee Co-Chair Jerry DeLoach. “We’ve got some great acts coming and everyone is real excited.”
DeLoach noted Tuesday that the carnival was already setup and ready to go, and that the festival would be chock-full of food and arts and craft vendors “It’s supposed to cool off some this weekend, so the weather looks great,” he said. “It’s going to be a great festival.”
This year’s musical guests include local bands Georgia Fire Band and 8 Mile Bend, who will perform from 7-9 p.m. Friday.
On Saturday, local acts Third Class Citizen and Outlaw Gypsy will get the crowd going at 5 and 6 p.m., respectively, before Chris Wallace takes the stage at 7:30 p.m.
Headlining bands Drivin’ N Cryin’ and Collective Soul will round out the night beginning at 8 p.m.
Community performances and demonstrations will be on stage throughout the weekend, including Ju-Jitsu Center of Richmond Hill, Richmond Hill Middle School Band and local dance studios on Saturday and the Richmond Hill Community Theatre and others on Sunday.
This year’s festivities will wrap up with the Crab Crawl 5K on Sunday. Registration starts at 1 p.m. at the admission’s gate and costs $35 if registered in advance or $40 the day of the race.
Bonnie Proctor, Seafood Festival Committee member, said organizers are well over 100 racers for the run through J.F. Gregory Park.
The festival is open from 5-10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission for adults is $5 Friday, Saturday until 4 p.m. and Sunday, $15 after 4 p.m. Saturday; for teens ages 13-16 is $5; for children ages 4-12 is $3 Friday, Saturday until 4 p.m. and Sunday, $5 after 4 p.m. Saturday; and for children 3 and under is free.
Festival admission does not include the cost of carnival rides, though there are wristbands available for unlimited rides: $20 on Friday; $30 for all day Saturday or $17 for 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and $20 for 4-11 p.m.; and $20 on Sunday. Tickets for rides will also be available for purchase.
Although there is no on-site parking, free parking will be available at various locations, and there will be a complimentary shuttle service running continuous routes during festival hours.
Handicapped parking is limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Those with a government-issued handicapped sticker or tag will be directed by police officers.
No pets, coolers, audio or video recording, or guns or weapons are allowed in the park during the festival. All vehicles, cargo, bags, boxes, totes and purses are subject to search.
For more information, please visit www.goseafoodfestival.com.