By Danielle Brown

Staff Writer

The 41stannual Pensacola Seafood Festival provided surf and turf samples along with artwork, merchandise, and kids activities in Bartram Park and Seville Square from Sept. 28 to Sept. 30. The event attracted between 80,000 and100,000 people making it one of Pensacola’s largest family-friendly festivals.

Even without a guarantee of sunshine the community has a history to flock to the downtown district to get their surf and turf.

“Even on weekends when we have had bad weather, we still get about 80,000 people,” Margaret-Anne West, Pensacola Seafood Festival marketing coordinator told the Pensacola News Journal. “People love Gulf Coast seafood, so they come out rain or shine.”

There were more than 150 art vendors who were selling a variety of items from home décor to bonsai trees. Some vendors have been showcasing their merchandise for years while others are new to the festival scene.

Young Living Essential Oil was a first-year vendor at the festival that showcased their all-natural essential oils, supplements, cleaning products, makeup and more. Along with the popularity of their Thieves line of oils, they have enjoyed interacting with people who have different levels of experience with essential oils.

“Some people have been using them for years and some people know nothing about it,” mentor and team leader Wanda Raper said. “So just having that opportunity to do education.”

The community was able to learn about how the food is prepared in the outdoor demo kitchen where Pensacola chefs cooked and shared their favorite recipes.

The Sons of Italy Buona Fortuna Lodge have participated in the festival for several years and are most-known for their gulf-to-table shrimp scampi made by charity member and food guru Mark DeNunzio.

“It’s my recipe that has evolved over the years,” DeNunzio said. “It’s my modification of a traditional Italian recipe.”

DeNunzio is a charity member of the nonprofit organization who puts the community’s needs and satisfaction first.

“Getting all of the people from the organization to help for a few hours is the most rewarding,” said DeNunzio. “Also, for them to take part in a team effort for the ultimate goal of helping the community.”

The concert portion of the festival was held in Bartram Park and featured performers such as the Molly Ringwalds and William Michael Morgan. The Chris Winward band played their cover of Blake Shelton’s song “Boys ‘Round Here” that had the crowd singing and dancing along.

The children’s area of the festival included a playground, face painting, aqua bubbles, and the Discovery Depot where kids were able to watch and interact with some marine animals.