Amelia Island Shrimp Festival

Every year I look forward to the first weekend in May.  The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival in Fernandina Beach,  Florida on Amelia Island keeps the island hopping with loads of  fun for all ages.

Beginning Thursday, May 1 with the Pirates Parade and culminating with the Blessing of the Fleet on Sunday, May 4, thousands of visitors and Amelia residents will enjoy shrimp prepared every way you can imagine.  Stroll down Centre Street to view over 300 fine arts and crafts booths.  Comb the side streets filled with antiques and collectibles.

Every year I buy one piece of art from one of our local artists. My Patricia Ezzell’s  “First American Beach”  hangs in a special niche in my home.  I made a beeline for her booth after it graced the cover of The Amelia Islander Magazine.

First American Beach painted by Patricia Ezzell, owned and photograph by Kathy miller

I have discovered items to add to my PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) and MillerTime collections.

This Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer thermometer was a special find at The Shrimp Festival.

Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer antique thermometer photo by Kathy Miller

I have bought birthday and Christmas gifts from the fabulous jewelry vendors.

Black and silver earrings Shrimp Festival photo by Kathy Miller

I have enjoyed the live entertainment and was even enticed into joining The Sweet Adelines Barbershop Chorus after a stirring rendition of Kokomo.  (Years ago. I sang baritone.)

I have sat on the porch at 29 South, enjoying wine and hors d’oeuvres as the Pirate’s Parade rolled past.

 I have enjoyed watching the shrimp boats in the harbor,

Shrimp boats Fernandina Beach, Fl photo by Kathy Miller

waiting to be decorated for the Boat Parade and The Blessing of the Fleet.

I have enjoyed many of the shrimp recipes created and served by the great restaurants on Amelia Island.  Get your April copy of The Amelia Islander Magazine to appreciate the many shrimp concoctions created by our talented chefs.

In celebration of the 51st Annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival I am including my shrimp and grits recipe.

Shrimp and Grits with Bacon photo by Kathy Miller


  • 8 strips bacon, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cups diced fresh summer tomatoes or 1 14 ½ oz. can of tomato wedges, drained
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • dash Tabasco
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, shelled
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Stone Ground Yellow Grits
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • ¾ cups yellow stone ground grits
  • ¾ cups cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Sauté bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and reserve.
  2. Drain bacon grease. Add butter. Sauté onion and garlic until tender.
  3. Add mushrooms and sauté until they begin to soften.
  4. Add tomatoes, Worcestershire and Tabasco.
  5. Simmer 10 minutes to blend flavors.
  6. Just before serving, add shrimp and cook, stirring, until they turn pink and begin to curl. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve over hot grits.

For the grits

  1. Bring chicken stock and milk to boil. Stir in grits.
  2. Simmer, stirring frequently, until it begins to thicken and grits begin to soften. This will be approximately 30 minutes.
  3. You may need to add more milk as you go. Stir in the cream and butter, simmer until soft and creamy. Watch carefully to prevent grits from scorching.

By KathyMillerTime


Recipe Printed from

 Amelia Island is lucky to have many artists, writers, chefs and retail stores.  We are fortunate to have The Amelia Island Museum of History supported by many volunteer docents.  Their story-telling tradition with walking tours of Centre Street, a Ghost Tour, and Golden Era Tour enthralls visitors every time.

The Museum’s book, “Meet Me on Amelia Island”   includes beautiful nature photography by Stephan Leimberg, written histories by Dickie Anderson,  and local recipes chosen by Lisa Waas.  Dickie Anderson author, Great Homes of Fernandina, Pleasures of Porch, and From The Porch Weekly, will be seen helping out in both Steve Leimberg’s and artist, Eileen Shannon Moore’s booths.

Steve Leimberg will be showcasing his fine art nature photography at The Shrimp Festival.  Look for his booth to experience and purchase his fine art nature prints.  Or visit his website, to view his thoughtful portrait and nature photography.  I have recently worked with Steve and his photography is amazing.

Now let’s go eat some Shrimp.

I welcome your comments.  Please share with your friends and sign up to receive my blog.

Come celebrate Amelia Island during The Shrimp Festival.  I’ll save you a seat at the table.


  • Dave Kempf says:

    This event sounds like so much fun that I must get down for it one year soon. The folks we worked with on Meet Meet on Amelia Island were terrific & I’m so proud of how the book turned out. Thanks for mentioning it-love the PBR Thermometer.

    • sec1fan says:

      Would love for you to come our way for the Shrimp Festival. I love the Meet Me On Amelia book and hope it continues to sell well.

  • Laura Huffman says:

    Now that I’m back in CA and don’t have shrimp and grits on dinner menus here, am I gonna have to actually COOK it for myself???? Thanks for the recipe!

    • sec1fan says:

      Yes you can do it Laura! I always think of you when I am having shrimp and grits. The ones at Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar in Charleston, SC were delish!

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