Hot Mess performs at the 2023 Scallop Festival. [ Wendy Weitzel | The Star ]
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Scallop Festival draws Labor Day Weekend crowd

Despite the rainy forecast, the annual Florida Scallop, Music and Arts Festival welcomed a large crowd of umbrella-holding locals and visitors to George Core Park last weekend.

The festival, which celebrated its 26th anniversary, featured a weekend filled with fried seafood, curated musical performances and a good time in the outdoors to ring in a busy Gulf County summer.

“I think the community response to the Scallop Festival this year was fantastic,” said Joe Whitmer, the director of the Gulf County Chamber of Commerce, who hosted the event. 

“The turnout was good on Saturday, despite the rain. There was a good turnout on Sunday. The vendors reported that they all did well. Overall, it was a success.”

This year’s festival featured performances from nine musical artists, some of whom traveled long distances for their sets.

Dirty Little Billy, Flabbergasted Band, Skyler Saufley and the 99th Degree, Jonn Del Toro Richardson and Damon Fowler performed on Saturday. And Sunday’s setlist featured Hot Mess, Baby Gray, Memphis Lightning and the Bo Spring Band.

The event welcomed more than 40 vendors, who proudly displayed their works or offered delicious food to festival-goers.

As this year’s Scallop Festival drew to a close, Whitmer expressed his excitement for the chamber’s next music festival — The Forgotten Music Festival — which will be held October 7 and 8. 

The Chamber will also be hosting an Oktoberfest celebration, called Portoberfest, on Sept. 23.

“We’re looking forward to our other great fall events,” he said.

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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