The Lions Club Shrimp Festival is Back!

by Bobby Mimmo

What began over 60 years ago as a “Blessing of the Fleet”, has grown to a major beachfront, weeklong celebration of shrimp.

The Fort Myers Beach LIONS Club is working hard to support our local community of those in need and is excited to announce the official Shrimp Festival ‘Shrimp Crawl’ taking place March 4th – March 10th, 2024 on Fort Myers Beach.

Because the Shrimp Festival is being held in a new location, the Lions have limited vendor spaces and are unable to have their traditional shrimp boil. Nor will there be any food vendors in the vendor area this year....... So, they have partnered up with 16 local restaurants and bars to provide fans with a Shrimp Crawl with all the local #PinkGold shrimp they can get their hands on. 

To pick up an official copy of the Shrimp Crawl passport, you can go to the Beach Chamber, Tuna Skin or Erickson & Jensen Seafood and then head out to participating restaurants for a variety of local #PinkGold shrimp dishes & drinks to help support our community & local economy.

This is fresh #PinkGold shrimp gathered up right here in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The local boats can be seen while walking to Fort Myers Beach on Matanzas Bridge, just glance to the left and you will see the fleet that supplies it.
Please remember on Saturday March 9th, the Matanzas Bridge will be closed at 9am till about noonish...Traffic will back up by 7:30 and a three mile stretch can take an hour.... So, if you are coming to the beach via San Carlos Blvd, give yourself a lot of time, if you don't get over the bridge by 9, then you'll have to park your car and walk over.

The Shrimp Crawl will be going on all week and the festival weekend kicks off March 9 with a 5K run from 9 to 10 am, followed by a two-mile-long parade at 10 a.m. The parade features floats and bands and the Southwest Florida Corvette Club chauffeuring our Shrimp Princesses in the parade....It starts behind the library, on School Street and proceeds north on Estero Boulevard to Bayside Park and in my opinion, it’s one of the best parades the beach puts on.

I had a chance to chat with Pageant Chairperson, Tracey Gore, she told me “the pageant is March 9th at 1pm at Bayside Park where our 2024 Shrimp Festival Queen will be crowned! Vicki Little, retired from Lee County Parks & Rec, is handling most of the judging for us this year. Former Vice Mayor Summer Stockton, and her wife, our local favorite singer/songwriter Sheena Brooke, put together a group of women to also help with some of the judging. Pink Shell Resort has been a great supporter of our pageant donating items for our Princess Swag Bags and offering us anything we need. My Semmer family who owns Bonita Bill’s Waterfront Cafe has donated their event room and food for the orientation and Sunday Social for the Princesses, their sponsors and the Lions.”

Remember to vote for your “Peoples Choice” Princess:

The Shrimp Festival arts and crafts fair will be at a new location along Old San Carlos Blvd. and between 1st Street & 3rd Street. For more vendor or other information contact Lion Diane Clifton: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Fort Myers Beach Lions Club has announced the return of their most “fulfilling” addition to their world-famous annual event, the Annual Shrimp Festival Shrimp Eating Championship which will be Sunday at noon.

The contest will feature up to 10 sponsored contestants who will compete to eat as many pounds as possible of cooked and peeled Ft. Myers Beach Pink Gold Shrimp within 8 minutes. They are still actively seeking participants. If you would like to participate as a contestant, contact Lion Shelby: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more info visit the:

The Blessing of the Fleet with be Sunday March 10th at the shrimp docks and goes from 10am til 1pm. St. Raphael’s Episcopal Church will be holding a traditional service and a Blessing of the shrimp fleet for a safe and bountiful year. We will have local Wild Caught Florida Pink Shrimp peel & eat after the service for $10 which benefits to FMB Lions.

During the week leading up to the festival, locals attend the Shrimp Festival Run for Kids. This is a one mile run on the beach sand and will be run on Saturday March 2nd at 8 am and of course the weeklong Shrimp Crawl.

The race will begin and end at the beach access on Gulf Beach Road across from the old Topps Supermarket and ends at Connecticut Street beach access. Starting at 8am, each grade will be released separately.

It’s a free event. Each participant will receive a T-shirt and awards will be given to the top 3 finishers for each gender per grades K-5.

This is also a great opportunity to meet Shrimp festival princesses as they will attend to support the kids and represent the Fort Myers Beach Lions Club.

Contact the event Chair, Betty Rodriguez: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

During the parade, the only bridge open to Estero Island is from Bonita Springs, about 16 miles south and it will back up too.

Saturday after 1ish pm and on Sunday, San Carlos Boulevard should be clear, history shows that traffic is always slow during this festival.

Parking at the beach is always a challenge in season, with pay lots charging $20 on major events, and once you park you don’t use the car anyway.
One way to avoid the problem is to park at the Summerlin Square at the corner of Summerlin Square Drive and Pine Ridge Road and ride the Lee Tran trolley over the bridge to the beach. Get off at the first stop.

If you come to the Shrimp Festival from the south, you can park at either Lovers Key State Park, which is well worth visiting in itself, or at the Santini Plaza, in the 7200 block of Estero Boulevard, and take the trolley to the festival.  smiley.png