By Jessica Tuggle
GRANT -- Where's the best place to get a plate full of fried clam strips, deviled crabs or shrimp and tuna kabobs? It's your friendly neighborhood Grant Seafood Festival.
The seafood festival will be held March 2-3. Admission is free, and gates are open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 2, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 3.
The festival, now in its 47th year, has been a favorite event of many in south Brevard County and the surrounding areas and for good reason.
The fresh food at the festival is prepared by the hands of hundreds of volunteers from the Grant community, not brought in from another region, said Lauri Chase, advertising coordinator for the festival.
"Everything is done in house. Our volunteers purchase, prepare and sell here; we don't have any outside vendors," Ms. Chase said.
Families and close friends often get together to prepare the different seafood dishes, so preparing for the annual festival has lots of tradition shared and loved by multiple generations.
"We have a real ownership in it. It's the conch salad from scratch, it's the deviled crabs -- nothing is just brought in from a restaurant," Ms. Chase said. "This year a new booth has been added, a "bites" booth."
The new booth will feature lobster rolls, grilled fish sandwiches, fries, gator bites and clam strips.
"The gator bites and clam strips were a big hit last year, so we brought them back," she said. "Our seared tuna was also a success and they are here this year."
More than 500 volunteers are needed to put together the festival.
In addition to being a free event with free parking and a family-friendly atmosphere, the seafood festival brings in money that primarily helps fund academic scholarships for local students, Ms. Chase said.
Last year, after paying expenses to run the festival, $45,000 was left over for scholarships, she said.
The funds also help fund the Grant Community Center, the Grant library children's programs and community block parties.
The Grant Seafood Festival grounds are located on First Street in Grant. During the event, signs will be posted pointing visitors in the right direction from the parking areas.
For more information about the Grant Seafood Festival, visit www.grantseafoodfestival.com.