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Sunday, November 21, 2010

How did the Palm Coast Seafood Festival fare?

When Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon mentioned the plans in late July for a Palm Coast Seafood Festival scheduled in November; Palm Coast and Flagler County residents mostly reacted positively:
"Palm Coast Seafood Festival sounds like an OUTSTANDING idea!"

"LOVE Seafood. Seems like another great event for our community."

"I am all for good seafood. And love this idea."

"Did someone say seafood? I'm in!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"Love the idea of a November Seafood Festival here!  Most are during the hot summer months and it is too hot to have an appetite to eat or walk around looking at the sites.  Kids activities? That's easy. The last Seafood Festival we went too was in Palatka, and they had rides and bounce houses for kids. I'm happy to see the county trying to hold events."

"I love the idea of a seafood festival also. I think its something that people dont get around here."
 ...though some weren't as enthusiastic:
"Not good for Palm Coast! We're not a seaside town and there are plenty of other seafood festivals that are very good close by each year that we won't be able to compete with." 

"Oh, it best not be the same time as the Chowder Debate in St. Augustine."

"Why? What qualifies us to have one when we can't even buy good seafood in Palm Coast."
In the late July announcement Landon mentioned that the festival was just one of several special events as ways for the city to attract more visitors and help local businesses.

Mayor Jon Netts was immediately on board with the idea, asking "If you sell spaghetti, what is the best thing government can do for you? Get you customers."

But not every member of the council was convinced of the merits of the idea.  "I hate to see the city go into business," said Councilman Bill Lewis. "I would like to see our expenditures reduced down maybe to a minimum."

Inaugural Palm Coast Seafood Festival came to life during the span of a weekend, on November 6 and 7, 2010, and visited by thousands of people.  But how did the first annual Palm Coast Seafood Festival fair?

Here are some thoughts and reflections:
On the positive side:
  • City pulled off the event successfully in a really short time from concept to materialization. 
  • Additional sponsors such as WNZF radio station came on board (helping to spread the word).
  • There were diverse activities from a Frisbee-dog-show, to rock-climbing, to children's fair grounds, music and entertainment, to hermit-crab races.
  • Weather was on the cool side but nice and sunny.
  • The venue, City Park (aka Central Park) in Town Center is a pretty setting.
  • There were decent participation from food vendors.

On the negative side:

  • There was a $3 entry fee that cause some complaints. 
  • There was not enough seafood vendors.
  • There was no presence by local Seafood restaurants (i.e. Flagler Fish Market, JT's, Blue, Fisherman's Net did not attend).
  • People were complaining about the food prices.
  • The venue (City Park) is very pretty, but not compact enough to have a true Seafood Festival feeling. 
  • Whether intentional or by oversight, the Palm Coast Seafood Festival overlapped two other events: The 11th Annual Tommy Tant Memorial Surf Classic, as well as the another Seafood Festival in Palm Coast's northern neighbor, Great Chowder Debate in Saint Augustine.
If you missed the event, here's is a video of the sights and sounds from the First Annual Palm Coast Seafood Festival:

If you attended it, what are your thoughts?

References and Resources:
Daytona Beach News Journal, Palm Coast Facebook Page, Flagler Online, FlaglerChat

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