58th Annual Fort Myers Beach Lions Shrimp Festival

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    The 58th Annual Fort Myers Beach Lions Shrimp Festival arrives on our shores the weekend of March 12th and 13th – and is sure to be the best one yet! The Fort Myers Beach Lions Club continues two events they introduced last year – a 5K Shrimp Run just before the parade on Saturday morning, March 12th and a Shrimp Eating Championship on Sunday afternoon March 13th! Plus this year, they are bringing back a long time favorite – the Kids Shrimp Run on the beach! That’s in addition to all the traditional fun of Shrimp Festival!

    Lions Kids Shrimp Run

    The Kid’s Run returns this year using the same location that was used for over 15 years. On Saturday, March 5th, kids from Kindergarten to 5th grade are invited to participate in this fun and free event – a mile run along the beach! Meet at Gulf Beach Rd beach access (across from Topps). Registration begins at 7am. The run begins at 8am. T-shirts provided by Beach School. Sponsored by Cypress Lake High School Boosters. For more information email liamcf@leeschools.net

    5K Shrimp Run

    The Fort Myers Beach Lions 5K Shrimp Festival Run, sponsored by Cypress Lake High School Athletic Booster Club returns this year. Enjoy the roar of the crowd gathered for the parade during this fun run! The 5K Shrimp Run will begin at Doc Ford’s, 708 Fisherman’s Wharf on San Carlos Island at 9am on Saturday, March 12th, just before the Shrimp Festival Parade. The route will take runners over the bridge and along Estero Blvd before returning to Doc Ford’s. Runners and walkers are welcome. Registration is $25. Registration and more information can be found at beachshrimpfestival.com, Cypress Lake High School boosters Facebook page or by emailing liamcf@leeschools.net

    Parade

    The Shrimp Festival Parade will begin at 10am on Saturday, March 12th. This is the largest Island parade of the year! Prizes are awarded in a number of categories! The route is about 1.25 miles long, beginning at School Street and ending at the Matanzas Bridge near Lynn Hall Memorial Park where all the Shrimp Festival events take place. The Lions join the Town of Fort Myers Beach in asking that NO BEADS be thrown in the parade due to the damage they do to the drainage system. There will be lots and lots of candy. If you want to be in the parade, check out parade information and an application on the festival website. And plan to be on the Island by 8am, as the Matanzas Bridge will be closed from 9am-noon on March 12th!

    Shrimp Queen Pageant

    The Fort Myers Beach Lions Club Shrimp Festival Queen Pageant attracts local young women eager to take part in this Beach tradition going back 58 years. All participants (princesses) are already winners by helping the Fort Myers Beach Lions Club and their charitable efforts through their participation. Watch for the Shrimp Princesses in the parade Saturday morning. Then at 1pm on Saturday, March 12th, the 58th Shrimp Festival Queen will be crowned at the pavilion on Festival Grounds in Lynn Hall Park. Don’t miss this old-fashioned family event with scholarships and trophies awarded.

    The voting has already begun for the People’s Choice Award at BeachLionsFoundation.com Everyone is invited to vote for their favorite Princess! Each vote requires a $3 donation to the Lions We Serve Scholarship Fund. Vote Early! Vote Often! Winner will be named at the Pageant at 1pm Saturday.

    Shrimp Eating Championship

    The Festival’s most filling and fun event begins at 1pm on Sunday on Festival Grounds in Lynn Hall Park – The 2nd Annual Lions Shrimp Festival Championship Shrimp Eating Contest! Up to ten sponsored contestants try to eat 3 lbs. of cooked and peeled FMB Pink Shrimp in 3 minutes! Have your cameras ready! Cheer on your favorite contestant! Sponsorship fee is $250 with all proceeds to Lions Charities. Information at eatingcontest@beachshrimpfestival.com

    Festival Gear Available Online

    The 2016 edition of Official Shrimp Festival t-shirts, tank tops, caps and polo shirts are available before the Festival at Bay Oaks Recreation Center, Gavin’s Ace Hardware and Sun Hardware. Plus, Festival Gear and Dinner tickets can be purchased online at www.beachlionsfoundation.com and shipped wherever you are in the USA. Get your gear now and show your support for the Lions Shrimp Festival by wearing it around the Island! Festival Gear will also be available on Festival Grounds on March 12-13.

    Food, Fun & Crafts Expo

    The 24rd Annual Shrimp Festival Food, Fun & Crafts Expo will be held March 12th & 13th on the Festival Grounds at Lynn Hall Park. The Expo will be open from 10am-6pm Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sunday with more than a 100 great vendors offering a variety of hand-crafted jewelry, accessories, lawn ornaments, furniture, blown glass, wood sculptures and more.

    World Famous Shrimp Dinners

    The Lion’s World Famous Shrimp Dinners, featuring Pink Gold Gulf shrimp from our local boats, secret sauce and cole slaw will be offered on Saturday, March 12th from 10am-5pm and Sunday March 13t from 10am until they run out and they always run out. Get your tickets online at beachlionsfoundation.com to save time.

    Lions Charities

    The Shrimp Festival is the Lions major fundraiser for the year. Each year for 57 years, the Lions have used 100% of the proceeds of the Shrimp Festival to support Fort Myers Beach Lions Charities. Last year the Festival raised more than $45,000, all of it donated to support charities like Beach Lions We Serve Scholarships, Campership Fund for sight-impaired campers, Guide Dogs, Beach School, Lee County CERT, Large Print and Audio Books for the Beach Library, local sight assistance cases, WGCU radio reading service, Immokalee Child Care Center, Cypress Lake High School, Lions Club International Foundation, Lions Foundation for the Blind and Conklin Center for the Blind. The need is greater than ever as the number of sight assistance cases increases each year.

    Through the volunteer efforts of Lions Club members and Club projects like the Shrimp Festival and outstanding community support, the Beach Lions are able to support community charities year-round.

    Join the Lions

    The Fort Myers Beach Lions Club is composed of fun-loving, community-minded members who meet in the Parish Hall of St. Raphael’s Church, 5601 Williams Drive, Fort Myers Beach on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month at 7pm. They welcome anyone who may want to attend a meeting to see if they’d want to join them. Members are invited to participate in activities as their schedule allows and they especially welcome busy people, because we all know that the best way to get anything done is to ask a busy person. Snowbird Lions are also invited to attend meetings while in the area. To learn more about the Lions visit FMBLions.com. For a great dinner and a no-obligation visit to a Beach Lion meeting, email info@FMBLions.com.

    For more information on the Shrimp Festival visit beachshrimpfestival.com. To order Festival gear or dinner tickets online, visit beachlionsfoundation.com

    Missy Layfield