MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. — Organizers of the 39th annual John’s Pass Seafood Festival have decided to turn it into an art festival this year.
Chairperson Sunny Flynn said they had made the change because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“COVID has changed our world,” she said.
Pinellas County is following the CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines, which includes no tented food vendors. In order to not cancel the festival altogether, Flynn said they will have 80 art vendors and they will showcase the 14 bars and restaurants already in the village.
“We pushed [The Seafood Festival] back 90 days already. We have to do something,” Flynn said. “This is a lifeline for our hundred businesses here.”
She said the vendors will be socially distanced, they will also have some food trucks and entertainment.
The restaurants will have extra outdoor seating as well. Masks and social distancing are mandatory. You will have to be seated to get drinks or eat.
“This is amazing,” said Jill Cowan.
Cowan works at John’s Pass Trading Company. She said business has been slow because of COVID-19.
“I’m glad they didn’t just cancel it. We need the foot traffic here,” said Cowan.
The festival is usually in October and includes a hollowed party. They canceled the party when they decided to move the festival to January.
“We have to be smart about this, and we need our visitors to be smart about it too,” said flynn.
The festival will take place from Jan. 22-24. Flynn said they plan to keep the festival in January going forward.
She’s hoping they can bring the seafood vendors back next year.