PUBLISHED OCT. 27, 2016
By LOIS KINDLE
The Ruskin Seafood Festival, South Shore’s most highly attended event, is set to take place Nov. 5 and 6 at E. G. Simmons Park in Ruskin. More than 25,000 people from around the Tampa Bay area are expected to attend.
The annual community celebration, which despite its growing attendance numbers, maintains its laid-back, down-home ambience, offers families, friends and neighbors a place to congregate, dine, be entertained and engaged. “I guarantee there’s something for everyone,” said Melanie Rimes, SouthShore Chamber of Commerce president. “We’re expecting another record-breaking year.
“We try to grow the festival every year through partnerships like Trophy Takers Outdoors 102.5 the Bone, which is presenting a free, saltwater Battle in the Bay Fishing Tournament this year,” she said. “Anyone interested in participating should visit bartowford.com/fishing for details.”
A new partnership with Jubilee Gymnastics and The Shinobi School in Tampa is bringing a 90-foot Ninja Warrior Course for kids and adults to the festival. Rimes said she’s expects at least one Ninja Warrior to appear.
“We’re expecting both exciting additions to take the festival to an entirely new level,” Rimes said.
Now in its 28th year, Ruskin Seafood Festival offers cold beer, wine and foods for every palate — a plethora of fried, grilled or smoked seafood and landlubber foods like burgers, hot dogs, kettle corn and more. There will be row after row of commercial, nonprofit and arts and crafts vendors, continuous live entertainment, a boating and outdoor area and the Guppies R Guppies Kids Area. The latter will feature hamster balls, bull riding, inflatables, rock wall, reverse bungee, trackless train and more. It will also include Jumbo the Pirate, professional stilt walking, face painting, pony rides, performances by local kids and a petting zoo.
If you’re into live music, you’ll find Christian rock, R & B, classic and Southern rock, country, oldies, Latin jazz, reggae and more.
Saturday’s lineup on the Clam Jam stage will feature Ronnie Davis, Kosmic Pearl and the 241 Band, Zebron & James, Sixgun Republic and Spy vs. Spy. Sunday’s performers will include 3 O’Clock Rain, Ronnie Davis and La Lucha.
Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 5 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 6. Admission is free for kids under 12 and members of the military with IDs; adults pay $5.
Hillsborough County charges a $2 per carload entry fee to the park, after which parking is free. There’s also a free shuttle to the festival grounds.
This year’s event sponsors include Zipperer’s Funeral Home, Pirate’s Pointe, Mosaic, St. Joseph’s Hospital-South, TECO, Kids ’R’ Kids Southshore, Amazon Fulfillment, Budweiser and Waterset.
E. G. Simmons Park is at 2401 19th Ave. N.W., Ruskin.
“I like to say the Ruskin Seafood Festival is a small-town festival gone wild,” said Morrison, smiling. “It’s still very much a family-friendly, hometown event for people of all ages, but each year it attracts thousands of new visitors to the community who get to see the area, our businesses and all we have to offer.”
For more information on the Ruskin Seafood Festival, call 813-645-1366 or visit ruskinseafoodfestival.org.