A tsunami of treats from the sea rolls into town this weekend as the Safety Harbor Seafood Festival gets under way.
Joe Cooper, Safety Harbor's supervisor of special events, said gastronomic delights will include "grouper sandwiches, shrimp any way you like it, lobster rolls, calamari, fried alligator, crawdads, crab fritters, clam strips, tilapia, fried alligator and jambalaya."
There will be food for the landlubbers as well.
In all, about 20 food vendors will participate.
The free waterfront celebration takes place from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Safety Harbor Marina, next to the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa.
Bay area bands including the Wildlife Refugees and Wholly Kats will take to the Budweiser True Music Stage and provide nonstop musical entertainment. The palette of pickers will play blues, reggae, rock, folk, surf and swing tunes.
Thirty-five vendors will offer fine art, jewelry, hand-blown glass, cooking sauces, herbs, spices, jellies, skin care products and more.
Take the shrimps to the ParentGuide family area for some arts and crafts, face painting and bouncing fun.
The Treasure Island Sport Kite Klub, the Sunset Flyers and Quad Effects will share their kite-flying skills with visitors on the back lawn of the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa.
"We'll have all types of kites, from the single-line floaty types that people are familiar with to the four-line precision acrobatic kites, which can do some amazing tricks," said Gary Resnick, spokesman for the kite clubs.
Cooper said the seafood festival began about 20 years ago and will draw about 15,000 people over the weekend.
Proceeds from the event will benefit three community organizations: Partners in Progress, which helps residents and their children attend leisure services programs; the Safety Harbor Museum of Regional History; and Magic Beans Village, which offers equine therapy.
In many ways, it's the perfect outing during a recession, according to Cooper:
"People can come and listen to the bands all weekend long next to our beautiful waterfront for free."
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