From the edge of town to the heart of its waterfront, the city of Carrabelle was ablaze with color and alive with frivolity on Saturday.
The 32nd annual Carrabelle Riverfront Festival drew a hearty crowd and Marine Street lined up and down with vendors.
Lori Dougherty, director of the Carrabelle Chamber of Commerce, said the event drew about 80 merchandise and nonprofit vendors, about 12 food and sweets vendors, and about 15 exhibitors on Avenue B.
Crowd attendance is always difficult to estimate at a free event, but from all indications it was steady all day.
“I had several people say we easily had over 3000 visitors,” said Dougherty. “ I feel that over the course of the day that’s quite possible, but there’s no way to really know.
“I feel like the visitors enjoyed themselves,” she said. “It was pretty hot and sticky at times but I saw mostly smiles. Happy shoppers, happy eaters, happy kids bouncing and trainriding. The Soccer Collies also added a different twist, bringing their energy and interaction with our visitors which was a delightful addition.”
The Soccer Collies were a group of rescued Border Collies from Floral City, which provided interactive entertainment in a doggie version of soccer.
In a newly introduced Kids Coastal Costume Contest, 2-year-old Ivy Wheeler took the top prize, dressed as a mermaid, in the contest for children under age 15. The costume theme was coastal/nautical with suggestions such as mermaids, pirates, sea captains, sea creatures, lifeguards, swimmers, sailors, and more.
The Fishy Fashion Show was again a hit, as the annual show created by Joan Matey showed off the “Dos and Do Knots” of coastal couture, to the musical accompaniment of Susan David on keyboards. Maritime models showed off nautical-themed outfits made from found and recycled materials like sea nets, old beach umbrellas, oyster sacks, sails, sponges, and washed-up debris.
Taking part this year was Frank Stephenson, as the Bayside Bachelor; Franklin County fifth graders Kynzli Mullins, as Sponge Bonnet Sue, and Mya Barber, as the Fisherman’s Daughter; Lesley Cox as Business at the Beach; Melanie Humble as Marine Antoinette; Kathy Palmer as the Sea Vamp; Kathleen Oman as Clamity Jane; Rodney Reeves as St. George the Lionfish Slayer; Sally Crown as St. Teresa Beach; Dan Cox as St. James; Brecque Woodke as Netty the Nautical Nymph; and Carol Cox as the Red Tide She Devil.
On the grounds of George Sands Park, the Wandering Star Quilters from Lanark Village debuted a new outdoor show, the “Airing of the Quilts,” an event that drew a lot of interest being held alongside the festival.
Musicians who performed throughout the day at the festival included Calen Barber, Cody Barber, Christy and Jess of the Bog Lilies, and Kevin Andrew and the Rockulla Performers, along with dance by the Tallahassee Community College Dance Company and the Dancing Witches.
“Shout out to so many people who helped and donated time, materials, equipment, and supplies,” said Dougherty. “Definitely a successful Carrabelle team effort.”