Riverfest Seafood Festival in Ormond Beach: A feast for eyes, ears, and stomachs

Riverfest Seafood Festival in Ormond Beach: A feast for eyes, ears, and stomachs

The skies were gray and the weather was alarming as the Riverfest Seafood Festival began its return this weekend on Saturday, November 20, after the COVID-19 hiatus the year before.

“We were a little concerned about the weather at the start of the weekend,” said Becky Parker, event organizer for Ormond Beach Mainstreet. “But I thought people would go out regardless. As we saw with the Celtic Festival, it was packed. Everyone was ready to go out and about.”

This was the seventh year that Parker helped organize the well-attended event for 12 years. Nearly 100 volunteers were hired over the weekend to set up and manage children’s events, provide vendor support, custom brew stands and take apart. Family members usually gather together when volunteering at the festival. Parker’s father travels to Ormond Beach three times a year just to help out with anything you might need at the city’s annual festivals.

“I’ve heard people say, ‘Don’t walk around Becky during the festival period, you’re going to get carried away into volunteering,'” she said, laughing.

More than two dozen vendors have filled Rockefeller Gardens with a variety of delicious food offerings ranging from lobster mac-n-cheese from Seashore Seafood to Frog Legs Basket of Gregg’s Seafood & Grill, along with many delicious desserts including ice cream. Italian and fried oreo.

Greg Lewis, owner of Greg’s Seafood & BBQ, started his business 15 years ago after his uncle John Watson taught him everything he knew about becoming a foodie. He helped Louis Watson when he was traveling to Jacksonville to cook for the NFL Jaguars home games. Lewis currently works in Ormond Beach in the rainwater department during the week and on weekends, and travels to Tallahassee, Miami, or wherever his mobile restaurant is required.

“Yes. I work a lot,” he said. “Usually seven days a week. Love her. I love this festival. Always a great turnout.”

Old-fashioned music and beer performances have created a haven for adults to enjoy each other along the picturesque Halifax River. The children also had the opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities in the children’s area under the Granada Bridge and by participating in the Kid Fish Clinics in Fortunato Park where they were providing free fishing poles. Parents can stop by to chat with Delores Cope on the Early Learning Coalition bus to discuss their children’s educational options while the children play in the interactive stations.

Travis Konaric and his wife Kristi Knight were the first volunteers to found Kid Fish Clinics seven years ago. In the past, Fish Florida has donated fishing poles as well as grants that will be used to get 300 poles given out at the festival. This year, the columns arrived late making it necessary for Ormond Beach Mainstreet to purchase them in time so that Konarik and Knight could assemble them together in their home. Late arrivals will be used in next year’s clinics.

Veteran Tad Harris, owner of Harri Ax – a mobile ax throwing company – had a line at his vendor booth. His trailer consists of a throwing ax cage large enough to accommodate two throws at the same time. Harris had reached out to Ormond Beach Mainstreet to take part in his first event – the Celtic Festival and he followed up with Riverfest. Siblings Noah and Samantha Stevens were excited to see Harris again. After a few rounds of ax-throwing rivalry, the two said it was fun and would get their parents to stop the car if they saw it on their trips.

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