PANAMA CITY BEACH— It’s a good weekend to unwind on the water and the dockside, listen to some tunes and maybe learn a thing or two about our coastal heritage.
The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association has teamed up with Panama City Beach businesses to host this week’s Panama City Beach Seafood and Music Festival/UNwineD 2012, which runs through Sunday in and around Capt. Anderson’s Marina. The Jeffrey Steele Band and LoCash Cowboys are the headliners, with multiple performances from BMI country songwriters and cuisine from some of the best local restaurants, as well as fishing tournaments and activities for all ages throughout the weekend.
“We’ve brought the festival back to the water, and we want to share some of the experiences they would normally have on the water,” said Pam Anderson with Capt. Anderson’s Marina.
The event is free and open to the public, though the “UNwineD Luxury Lounge” requires a ticket, as it will be offering fantastic food and wine pairings and celebrity chef demonstrations, and capacity is limited. For more information or to purchase VIP tickets, visit PCBSeafoodFestival.com.
“Since the festival is being held at waterside and at our marina, there is much more than just music and seafood,” said Michelle Girth of Capt. Anderson’s Marina. “We want to involve as many local families as possible. Get all the boats blessed Friday, get all the anglers and divers out in the water Saturday, and get the kids fishing and learning the heritage of Bay County.”
Fridaywill be the “Honoree Fishing Tournament,” featuring a four-hour Head Boat trip. Saturday is the “Kid’s Dockside Bay Fishing Experience.” Also Friday from 5-10 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., the festival will have a “History Hunt” going on at the large History Tent located in front of the Vendor Village at Capt. Anderson’s.
The inaugural “Lion-Tamer” Lionfish Dive Tournament was organized because it’s important to educate the public about getting invasive Lionfish out of local waters, Girth said. Divers will be spearfishing for Lionfish, Greater Amberjack, and Red and Gag grouper. Visitors to the festival can visit the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission’s tent to see the Lionfish up close and personal — and also taste it, cooked by a chef from Boatyard Restaurant.
The FWC tent will be on the east corner of Marina Cantina, displaying information about the Lionfish and how it is disrupting the local ecosystem. (Native to the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, the Lionfish is predatory reef fish that eats native fish and competes with native predators like grouper and snapper.) Candy Hansard of the Emerald Coast Reef Association will demonstrate how to safely handle the Lionfish.
Meanwhile, catch the tunes of award-winning festival headliner Jeffrey Steele, whose accolades include a Grammy nomination for Best Country Song and a Golden Globe Best Original Song nomination, as well as the CMA Triple Play Award and BMI’s Songwriter of the Year. Also headlining are the LoCash Cowboys, an energetic duo that has shared the bill with Charlie Daniels, ZZ Top and other stars, and performed on air for Fox’s New Year’s Eve broadcast in Times Square.
“We will have some of the best songwriters you can imagine, who have written for some of the top artists in Nashville,” said Carole Dover, president of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association.
Other performers will include Charlie Worsham, who wrote “Heart of a Lonely Girl” recently recorded by Dierks Bentley; Brent Cobb, whose songs have been recorded by Luke Bryan, Kelli Pickler and others; Cole Swindell, a frequent collaborator with Luke Bryan; Aaron Barker, whose songs have been recorded by George Strait and Willie Nelson, among others; Abigail Rose, a young singer/songwriter who has opened for Sara Evans, Florida Georgia Line and more; Brandon Kinney, whose songs have been recorded by Willie Nelson, Randy Travis and others; Dylan Altman, who wrote the No. 1 hits “Watch The Wind Blow By” and “Barefoot Blue Jean Night”; Jim McCormick, who wrote the No. 1 hit “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do” (recorded by Brantley Gilbert); Adam Craig, who co-wrote “Church Pew or Bar Stool” recorded by Jason Aldean; and Blue Mother Tupelo, a band whose sound has been described as “Swampadelic.”
Chef Konrad Jochum of Boatyard Restaurant said the festival’s food selection will be handled a little differently this year in that it will focus on local vendors rather than any from out-of-town.
“We have 17 restaurants participating, all from Bay County, and nine in the Luxury Lounge,” he said. “The price point is mostly single digit. The highest priced item on any menu is $10. It will be all local seafood, some hamburgers and hotdogs, and funnel cakes or funnel sticks for the kids.”
Panama CityBeachelementary students have been drawing fish pictures for an art contest, and the winning artwork will be on the Weigh-In Totals board, making for the most colorful fishing tournament weigh-in ever, Girth said. Second- and third-place artwork will also be on display.
“There will be a Bay County fishing and diving heritage tent, where old salts will be sharing what they used to have to do to find fish without all the gadgets of today — or to even find their way back home,” Anderson said, adding that a focus of the festival is education. “They’ll also go over how to prepare salt fish and how folks cured their meats in the old days, aspects of early fishing and diving, and display memorabilia.”
There also will be Blue Crab Races, a Fighting Chair Pull, a car show, a boat show and an extensive Kid Fun Zone. The Lady Anderson has scheduled special $39 cruises for this festival, with BMI songwriters on the trips.
Satellite parking spots will have free “Custom Coach” transportation: Thomas Drive at U.S. 98 (the old Walmart/Wayne's World site) will be by far the easiest and largest parking area to access; Treasure Island is opening up parking on both sides of Thomas Drive with free shuttle service from there also. Or, if you prefer, you could arrive by water, taking a water shuttle from St. Andrews State Park, Pirate’s Cove or Treasure Island Marina.
This five-day festival began on Wednesday and continues through Sunday, presented by the Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association and Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce. Its purpose is to celebrate seafood, fishing, culinary arts, music, entertainment and coastal culture. But don’t feel like you’ve missed anything: Friday and Saturday are the main festival days open to the public.
Schedule of Events
Noon: Al Hubbard Kids Bay Fishing Tournament (Details: 234-3435)
Noon-3 p.m.: Beach party, photo op and live remote with LoCash Cowboys at the Boardwalk Beach Resort
1-4 p.m.: Grand Lagoon, Shell Island and dolphin encounter cruise on Capt. Anderson III (ticketed excursion); trip repeats 5:15-6:30 p.m.
4 p.m.: Shuttle buses start running from satellite parking lots
4:45 p.m.: Blessing of the Fleet (waterside at Capt. Anderson’s Marina and Treasure Island Marina)
5 p.m.: Festival opens, including Luxury Lounge; celebrity chef demonstrations; Grand Tasting featuring fresh Gulf seafood served by Bay County restaurants with wine, craft and domestic beer, and cocktails; dinner specials at Captain Anderson’s, Boatyard and Marina Cantina; festival village concessions open; BMI songwriter performances begin; scavenger hunt; car show, boat show and RV show
5 p.m.: Adam Craig and Cole Swindell
5-6:30 p.m.: Sunset & Seabreeze cruise aboard the Lady Anderson yacht (tickets required)
5:15 p.m.: Al Hubbard Kids Bay Fishing Tournament Weigh-in
6 p.m.: Dylan Altman and Jim McCormick
7 p.m.: Scotty Emerick
8 p.m.: LoCash Cowboys
10 p.m.-2 a.m.: BMI Late Night Hang; songwriter performances at Boatyard and Marina Cantina
2 a.m.: Last shuttle bus departs from Boatyard Restaurant
5 a.m.-6 p.m.: Deep-Sea Fishing Tournament; Lionfish Dive Tournament; Charter Fishing Trips (Details: 234-3435)
10 a.m.: Shuttle buses start running from satellite parking lots
10:30 a.m.-Noon: Kid’s Dockside Bay Fishing Experience (free of charge)
11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.: Lunch Cruise aboard Lady Anderson (separate tickets needed)
Noon: Festival opens, including Luxury Lounge; festival village concessions; opening ceremonies oncommunity stage
12:30 p.m.: Abigail Rose
1:30 p.m.: Local performance on community stage; family activities and contests; retail seafood sales
5-6:30 p.m.: Sunset & Seabreeze cruise aboard the Lady Anderson yacht, featuring BMI songwriters Aaron Barker and Bridgette Tatum (separate tickets needed)
5-8 p.m.:Luxury Lounge VIP area opens; celebrity chef demonstrations; Grand Tasting featuring fresh Gulf seafood served by Bay County restaurants with wine, craft and domestic beer, and cocktails; ice carving demonstration; dinner specials at Captain Anderson’s, Boatyard and Marina Cantina; BMI songwriter performances begin
5 p.m.: Brandon Kinney and Brent Cobb; Lionfish Dive Tournament Weigh-in
6 p.m.: Blue Mother Tupelo; Deep-Sea Fishing Tournament Weigh-in
7 p.m.: Charlie Worsham
8 p.m.: Jeffrey Steele Band
10 p.m.-2 a.m.: BMI Late Night Hang; songwriter performances at Boatyard Restaurant and Marina Cantina
2 a.m.: Last shuttle bus departs from Boatyard Restaurant
11 a.m.-3 p.m.: Brunch with BMI songwriters at Boatyard Restaurant; songwriter performances