Tell a regional food aficionado about a festival that features fried catfish fingerlings, frogs legs, gator tail, and swamp cabbage stew, and she’s sure to know that festival will be happening somewhere in The Sunshine State. Those Florida specialties and much more will be on the menu at the 37th annual Catfish Festival put on by the Rotary Club of Crescent City, Florida, on Crescent Lake, about halfway between Orlando and Jacksonville. The festivities begin 5 p.m. Friday, April 3rd and continue during the day on Saturday, April 4th.
Catfish fingerlings are small, bone-in catfish but if that’s too scary for you, boneless fillets of the St. John’s River fish will also be available. If swamp cabbage also sounds off-putting, know that the vegetable is also called hearts of palm and, yes, it does come from the heart of the trunk of a particular palm tree. Is all that regionalia just too much for you? Don’t worry, there will be vendors offering up burgers, dogs, funnel cakes, strawberry shortcake and the like.
After Friday’s opening ceremonies, there’ll be church and gospel music, food, and vendors until 9:30 p.m. Saturday’s festivities kick off at 8 a.m. with the very popular car show and 5K run. There’ll be more varied live entertainment and food, and the big parade at noon. Plenty of activities for kids will be offered. Money raised from the festival goes toward college and vocational school scholarships. Admission is free. For more information see the festival website.