Lionfish festival


Background

 

In February of 2015, a Resolution declared the first Saturday after Mother’s Day each year as Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day. FWC hosts the Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day (LRAD) Festival on this date each year to continue to spread outreach about the lionfish invasion and to celebrate those who work to control the invasion.
The two-day festival is typically headquartered in the Panhandle with satellite events sometimes occurring around the state. The festival brings in thousands of visitors each year to learn about lionfish, taste samples, and enjoy a variety of events and vendors.
This isn’t your average festival, however, because the event also coincides with a huge lionfish tournament. As with many previous years, this year’s festival will happen alongside the largest lionfish tournament in the world, the Emerald Coast Open. The Emerald Coast open is an annual event put on in Destin, FL. Each year, the tournament brings in tens of thousands of lionfish from around the state. The final tournament weigh in and awards ceremony will be happening LIVE during the LRAD festival.


Mark your calendar for the 8th annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day Festival

May 14 & 15, 2022

Interested in registering for the tournament? Click here to learn more!

Restaurant Week

 

Restaurant week is a week-long event leading up to the annual LRAD Festival and the Emerald Coast Open. Each night, one of Destin-Fort Walton Beach’s restaurants will highlight lionfish in unique dishes on their menu. Check back in May to see which restaurants will be participating each night of restaurant week this year!

Interested in supporting the 2022 tournament and festival?

 

The Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day Festival and the Emerald Coast Open would not be possible without the support of our vendors and sponsors.
One of the most exciting parts about the annual LRAD Festival are the vendors and exhibitors who set up their tents with us each year. We are proud to have hosted hundreds of small businesses, artists, organizations, and many other groups since our first festival in 2015.
Information for Vendors

Event Info

The Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day Festival l is a one-of-a-kind event, promoting lionfish removal and awareness.  Alongside the festival will be the largest lionfish tournament in the world, the Emerald Coast Open.

The festival will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 14 & Sunday, May 15 in Destin. The headquarters of the festival and Emerald Coast Open tournament will be hosted at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar, with the festival continuing along the HarborWalk Village. The event typically brings in 5,000 – 7,000 visitors each year.

Note: HarborWalk village hosts permanent vendors year-round. Because of this, vendors for this event are not permitted to sell food, drink, or other concessions.

Set Up & Breakdown

Vendor set up is Saturday, May 14 from 7 a.m – 9:30 a.m. Breakdown is Sunday, May 15 at 5 p.m. Additional information regarding set-up protocol and vendor assignments will be provided at a later date.

Parking

Public parking lots are available just north of HarborWalk Village. Additional parking and traffic flow details will be provided at a later date. For more information, visit FWCReefRangers.com.

Security

There will be overnight security at HarborWalk Village from 5 p.m. through 9 a.m. on May 14 and 15. We ask that you please breakdown your booth Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. since security will not be provided on May 16. Although security is provided, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

Equipment

One 10’x10’ tent will be provided to each vendor. Please bring your own tables, chairs, and any other items you may need. Keep in mind that the event is located along Destin harbor and could be affected by strong winds or inclement weather. Be prepared and bring equipment to weigh down your tents and other materials. Some tent spots will have access to electrical outlets. If your booth requires the use of an electrical outlet, please let us know on your application. We cannot guarantee power, but we will do our best to accommodate all vendors’ requests for electrical outlet access.


Interested in sponsoring the world’s largest lionfish tournament? Supporting the Emerald Coast Open is an excellent way to support conservation of our marine resources, as well as reach thousands of visitors at the event. Click here to learn more about sponsoring the tournament, or send send an email to sponsor@emeraldcoastopen.com