(St Augustine, FL) – The annual St. Augustine Lions Seafood Festival returns to the Ancient City this March. The Festival is a cornerstone of the Lions Club’s fundraising efforts for the year. Founded in 1981, and with more than 20,000 people expected to attend in 2019, the Seafood Festival is the largest, oldest, and most family-oriented festival in the Ancient City.
Most years, the St. Augustine Lions Club donates more than $100,000 to organizations providing community services, education, youth services, storm recovery assistance, and veterans’ services. Vision screening and vision therapy are an important focus of the Lions Club, which last year screened 3,080 elementary school children and generated 230 referrals. The Club also helps pay for glasses if families of children in need do not have the funds to cover them. Almost all of the Lions Club’s donations are raised during the successful and highly-anticipated Seafood Festival.
The primary draw of the Festival is—of course—seafood. Other attractions include kiddie rides, face painting, family shows, live music, and nearly 100 diverse, affordable arts and crafts exhibitors.
Proceeds from the Festival benefit the charitable activities of the St. Augustine Lions Foundation, which last year supported a diverse range of community initiatives including:
•The Arc of the St. Johns
•St. Francis House
•Alpha-Omega Miracle Home
•Shoes for H.O.P.E.
•St. Augustine Fire Department, for purchase of special fire alarms for the deaf
•Home Again St. Johns
•Invest In Kids (INK) Scholarships
•Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind College Scholarships
•St. Augustine Youth Services (SAYS)
•Numerous local food banks
“The Seafood Festival is one of the most highly-anticipated annual events in our region,” said Lion Dominic Mercurio, Festival Chairman. “It’s the only time you can enjoy boatloads of seafood along with live music, a large arts and crafts show, and family entertainment. It’s fun for all ages, and all net proceeds go to benefit Lions Club charities. We hope to break attendance records this year—so come on out, because ‘We’re Havin’ Fun Now.’”
“The Arc of the St. Johns is known for doing a whole lot of ‘friend-raising,’” said Neal Benson, Director of Marketing and Development for The Arc of the St. Johns. “We also know that our friendship with the St. Augustine Lions Club has resulted in timely and significant financial support for projects and programs here that truly benefit men, women, and children in our community with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” Hours and Admission: Francis Field is located at 25 W. Castillo Drive in downtown St. Augustine. Festival hours are 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, March 22; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 23; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 24. The Arts and Crafts village closes at sundown.
Admission is $5 for adults. children under 15 are free. Active duty military with ID are also free. Food prices are not included with admission. Free Parking and Shuttle: On Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24, free parking with a shuttle to the Seafood Festival will be available. Parking and shuttle are based at the St. Johns County Health Department, located at 200 San Sebastian View, and at the north San Marco lot at 301 San Marco Ave. Shuttles will pick up and drop off visitors at these two locations during Festival hours on Saturday and Sunday only. Look for “shuttle” signs directing you to these locations. More information on the parking and shuttle are on the website.
Please note, pets are not allowed on Festival grounds, except certified service dogs. For more information, email admin@lionsfestival.com, visit www.lionsfestival.com, or follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/staugustinelionsfestival.