The CVB Board voted 5-0 on 7/1/08 to approve a request for $60,000.00 in funding for the Panama City Beach Seafood, Wine and Music Festival to be held October 10-12, 2008 (Columbus Day Weekend) at Frank Brown Park. Absent were Mayor Oberst, Yonnie Patronis, Rick Russell, and Buddy Wilkes. Mike Nelson voted via telephone. The festival will be promoted by a group including Jack Bishop, C.J. Ryan, and Steve Pizza. All board members involved in the discussion seemed very supportive of the festival and funding request.
Although the festival schedule is still tentative, the promoters currently anticipate the following festival elements:
- The festival will open at 4PM on Friday and 11AM on both Saturday and Sunday. The festival will be wholly located at Frank Brown Park
- Admission costs have not yet been determined.
- The attendance goal is 18,000. The promoters expect 65% of the attendees to be overnight visitors and 35% to be from the local area.
- Feature entertainment will be included each evening; however, the promoters are not yet able to announce any specific performers. Artists that have been discussed include BB King, Huey Lewis and the News, KC & The sunshine Band, Sugarland, and Kellie Pickler. They are planning for a Jazz/Blues theme on Friday, a Big Name Headliner on Saturday, and a Country performer on Sunday. The promoters expect to announce the signing of performers by the end of the week.
- Family Fun Day(s) are anticipated to include family-friendly entertainment and activities.
- A Seafood Cook-off will be included, but it will not be judged. The festival hopes to attract both local chefs and chefs from other destinations. Although promotional material has discussed the possible involvement of Food Network, Mr. Bishop advised that the promoters have not yet entered into any discussions with the network.
- Although the promoters hope to have local restaurant participating as vendors, they will also invite the food vendors from the local festival circuit to participate. However, all vendors will be required to comply with specific aesthetic requirements.
- The promoters are hoping for a large number of arts and craft vendors. Mr. Bishop hopes the visitors will use the festival to begin their holiday shopping.
- It does not appear that a carnival midway will be included.
- The wine element of the festival has not yet been determined. Possibilities include tastings, a market, auctions, and a wine dinner. Participation may require an optional additional ticket be limited to holders of VIP tickets.