NEW: Seafood Festival moves from West Palm to Royal Palm Beach

The event formerly known as the West Palm Beach Seafood Festival is moving to Royal Palm Beach’s Commons Park.

The logistical challenges of hosting a large, one-day event in a bustling downtown were cited by organizers as the reason for the decision.

It is the second large festival to move west seeking more room. Bacon and Bourbon Fest, made its first appearance in Wellington last month.

The Seafood Festival, which will be May 19-20, had been a one-day event along Flagler Drive at the West Palm Beach Waterfront for three years. The venue is a “beautiful, beautiful spot,” but the city only lets a small number of events schedule for multiple days each year, said Kathy Gilbert, owner of POTTC Events, which organizes the festival.

And the Seafood Festival needed to grow. “It’s what the festival needed to do,” Gilbert said of the move. “For us, it means bringing in more quality to the event.”

READ MORE: Royal Palm Brewing Co. opens in Royal Palm Beach

This won’t be Gilbert’s first time working with Royal Palm Beach. She and her team are a mainstay of village events, assisting with the Sunday green market, Winter Fest, West Fest, Fall Fest and the Fourth of July celebration.

Plus, it’s close to home for The Acreage resident.

“Living here in the area, it’s nice to be able to produce this event in my hometown,” she said.

Commons Park offers practical benefits as well — including parking. “What we’d be looking at downtown is more difficult parking,” Gilbert said, adding that people had to pay to park in the city’s garages. “It puts money back in the pockets of our patrons so they can spend that with our vendors.”

The Seafood Festival joins the Bacon and Bourbon Fest in moving to the western communities in search of more space and attendee-friendly logistics.

The Bacon and Bourbon Fest “went really well” in its first year, which stretched over three days at the Wellington Community Center and surrounding area, said organizer Nancy Stewart-Franczak with Festival Management Group.

The Bacon and Bourbon Fest left Delray Beach’s Old School Square in 2016 after that city changed its special events policy to require organizers cover the full cost of city services instead of the 40 percent previously required. After canceling the 2017 event, Festival Management Group proposed a partnership with Wellington for this year’s festival.

WELLINGTON READERS: Sign up for The Post’s weekly newsletter for Wellington news

That partnership proved a huge benefit as the festival kicked off at a new home with a new demographic — and new challenges, Stewart-Franczak said.

“We had to do it in a location where there’s no parking, so we had the expense of doing shuttle buses,” she said. People parked at the Mall at Wellington Green and were ferried to and from the festival.

Another challenge: Stewart-Franczak’s group had never done an event with free admission, but as part of the partnership with Wellington, they had to adapt.

RELATED: Bacon and Bourbon Fest moves to Wellington from Delray

From crowd photos Stewart-Franczak put the total number of Bacon and Bourbon attendees at 15,000. The 2016 event brought 3,000 people to Delray, but that number was limited by the city. “It’s not an apples to apples comparison,” she said.

Bacon and Bourbon’s dates tentatively are set for the amphitheater at the end of March 2019. “It’s encouraging moving forward,” she added.

The event also had an added benefit to Wellington: Some fans of the festival from Delray Beach got their first look at the village.

“The people that did come to Wellington, they were like, ‘Wow, it’s really beautiful. I’ve never been here,’” Stewart-Franczak said.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

At Lake Worth gym open 24/7, you get a key, work out ‘whenever you want’
At Lake Worth gym open 24/7, you get a key, work out ‘whenever you want’

James Striker, a retired orthopedic surgeon, has been going to gyms for 50 years. One of his favorites is The Zoo Gym in downtown Lake Worth. “It’s a perfect gym, it’s two miles from my house and it’s open all the time,” said Striker, 70, of Palm Beach. “I come and go whenever I want.” READ: More details on...
3rd Annual Lake Worth Mango Festival coming soon
3rd Annual Lake Worth Mango Festival coming soon

On June 16, it’s all about mangos. That’s when the 3rd Annual Lake Worth International Mango Festival will be held at the Cultural Plaza from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. “We started this so we could get all the mangos that dropped from the mango trees in Lake Worth off the ground and to share them and help keep the streets of Lake Worth clean...
Breaking: Pedestrian dies in Lake Worth crash
Breaking: Pedestrian dies in Lake Worth crash

A vehicle struck and killed a person late Saturday, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said. The person was hit at 8:38 p.m. Saturday by a vehicle traveling southbound on Dixie Highway near 10th Avenue South. The pedestrian was pronounced dead on the scene. Vehicle homicide investigators were probing the crash late Saturday. Details of the...
NTSB: Greenacres pilot at fault in crash that killed him
NTSB: Greenacres pilot at fault in crash that killed him

A new report faults a Greenacres pilot for the crash that killed him, saying his poor flying caused the airplane to break up in the skies over Illinois. The final report from the National Transportation Safety Board says Garry Thomas Bernardo, 58, was at fault in the crash, which may have involved freakish weather, a shredded wing and a host of mechanical...
Olivia Munn discusses Aaron Rodgers’ family issues for the first time
Olivia Munn discusses Aaron Rodgers’ family issues for the first time

Olivia Munn has opened up about ex Aaron Rodgers’ family issues nearly one year after their split. >> Read more trending news  Munn appeared on Sirius XM’s “Andy Cohen Live” and said she only met the NFL Green Bay quarterback’s parents “a couple of times.”  “Before he and I started...
More Stories