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 2020, the Seafood Festival is the largest, oldest, and most family-oriented festival in the Ancient City.
For many years, the St. Augustine Lions Club has annually donated more than $100,000 to organizations and individuals. Donations fund community needs, education, health services, youth programs, disaster relief, and veterans’ services. Vision screening and vision therapy are an important focus of the Lions Club, which last year screened 1,934 elementary school children. The Club also helps pay for eyeglasses 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, live music, family shows, and nearly 100 affordable arts and crafts exhibitors. Proceeds from the Festival benefit the St. Augustine Lions Foundation, which funds all of the St. Augustine Lions Club’s charitable donations.
In the past 12 months, a diverse range of community needs were supported including:
- Alpha-Omega Miracle Home
- Betty Griffin Center
- Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind
- College scholarships
- Guide Dogs for the blind and hearing impaired
- Home Again St. Johns
- Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
- North Florida Lions Eye Foundation
- Ride for the Cure for Diabetes
- SJC Education Foundation – Investing in Kids (INK!)
- St. Johns County Foster/Adoptive Parents Association
- St. Augustine Youth Services (SAYS)
“The Seafood Festival is one of the most highly anticipated annual events on the First Coast,” said Lion Dominic Mercurio, Festival Chairman. “It’s the only time you can enjoy a variety of seafood, live music, a large arts and crafts show, and fabulous 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 and join us for some fun and fantastic food!”
“Alpha-Omega Miracle Home has had a long-standing partnership with the St. Augustine Lions Club,” said Lisa Franklin, CEO and Founder of Alpha-Omega Miracle Home. “Through the Seafood Festival, the Lions help us fulfill our mission of helping homeless single mothers and their children, along with senior citizens in our community facing homelessness. The Lions also share their talents and have become some of our most valuable volunteers. This is a club that focuses on the needs of our community. We are grateful for the years that they have supported us and partnered with us to bring change and hope to our community.”
Hours and Admission: Francis Field is located at 25 W. Castillo Drive, next to the Visitor’s Center and the parking garage in downtown St. Augustine. Festival hours are 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, March 20; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 21; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 22. The Arts & Crafts village closes at sundown. Admission is $5 for adults; children 12 and under are free. Food is purchased from the vendors and is not included with admission.
Free Parking and Shuttle: On Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22, free parking with a shuttle to the Seafood Festival will be available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Pick-up locations for the shuttle will be similar to prior years. 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 [email protected], visit www.lionsfestival.com, or follow on Facebook: www.facebook.com/staugustinelionsfestival
About the Lions Club: With more than 1.4 million members in more than 206 countries and geographic areas, Lions Club International is the largest and most effective service organization in the world. The St. Augustine Lions Club raises more than $100,000 each year to support worthwhile community projects, and since 1981 it has raised well over two million dollars. A 501c3 nonprofit organization, the St. Augustine Lions Foundation and St. Augustine Lions Club also conducts thousands of free vision screenings of local children each year and provides support to many local organizations. Visit www.staugustinelions.com