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Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival draws near

February 7, 2018
Jessica Salmond - News Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Fans of the annual Fort Myers Beach Lions Shrimp Festival can gear up early for the beach's unofficial holiday.

The 60th annual festival will take place Saturday, March 10 and Sunday, March 11. The Lions Club is pre-selling its shirts and hats at the following businesses: Gavin's ACE Hardware; Sun Hardware; Pierview Hotel and Suites; Bay Oaks Recreation Center and the Sea Gypsy Inn. The Red Coconut RV Park will sell gear Saturday mornings at its pancake breakfasts, which run from 7:30 until 10:00 a.m.

Options include shirts, tank tops and hats; all are $15. Every year, the Lions commission a local artist to make the logo for the year, and it's been different every time. The shirts will also be sold during the festival at the Lion's booth in Lynn Hall Park.

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The festival is just a little more than a month away and it's time to begin preparations and registrations for its many signature events.

The arts and crafts expo, held in Lynn Hall Park during the two-day event has a few spots left. , said Ted Clifton, the expo coordinator. It holds 118 spaces for vendors; 18 are for food.

To sign up to be a vendor, visit or email Ted Clifton, expo coordinator, 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. Anyone interested in the pageant can get in contact with her via email at or call her at 978-846-3596.

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.

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 think the Shrimp Festival is the biggest thing on Fort Myers Beach and benefits so many people including all the businesses," said Lions president, Fred Schmiesing.



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