Annual Frog Leg Festival underway
By Jessica Tuggle
FELLSMERE -- January in Fellsmere means more than a new year, it means thousands of pounds of frog legs fried to perfection and enjoyed by thousands of people.
The 22nd annual Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival kicked off on Jan. 17 and continues this weekend with musical entertainment, midway rides, vendors and, of course, frog legs and gator tail galore.
Headlining the musical entertainment on Saturday is Casey Weston, a former finalist from NBS's hit reality show, "The Voice." She will perform with her band at 7:30 p.m. and will have a meet and greet at 9 p.m. after the show.
Admittance to the festival is free as always, and the musical concerts by local and out-of-town bands and vocalists are free, as well.
Mayor Susan Adams said she was very excited to be involved in the festival preparations this year and couldn't wait to see the festival back once again.
"I've grown up around it. I personally spend my day out there eating around the Frog Leg Festival," Mayor Adams said with a laugh.
Her mother, Fran Adams, is heavily involved with the kitchen and food preparation side of the festival.
"I don't think you could get frog legs out of her system if you tried," Mayor Adams said.
The tradition of the Frog Leg Festival has grown in the 22 years since it began, but the goal of the festival has remained constant.
The money raised benefits the children of Fellsmere, mostly in the form of recreational opportunities.
Scoreboards, swimming lessons, park improvements, arts and music opportunities for elementary school students have been among the things the money raised at the festival made possible, Mayor Adams said.
Since the first festival began, more than $500,000 has been donated to youth and children's efforts in Fellsmere.
A frog leg dinner, which includes grits, coleslaw and hush puppies, is $9. A 1- pound plate of frog legs is $11.
A gator and frog leg dinner, which includes grits, coleslaw and hush puppies is $14. A 1-pound plate of gator tail is $13.
Dinner hours are Thursday and Friday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For those who are not interested in frog legs or gator tail, other carnival-type food will be available onsite from other vendors, including popcorn, candy apples, hot dogs, funnel cakes and sandwiches, Mayor Adams said.
"There's something for everyone," she said.
Free offsite parking with a free shuttle service is available at MESA Park all weekend, Mayor Adams said.
Festival hours are Thursday and Friday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information about the Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival, visit www.froglegfestival.com.