FELLSMERE – The annual Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival traditionally attracts thousands of visitors to the small city who would not have even heard of Fellsmere otherwise – drawing people from all across the country to sample the fried fare.
This year’s event was no different, with people traveling from at least as far as Minnesota and Boston – though surely there were others who came from even father away. Bim and Karen Becker, who live about 100 miles south of the Canadian border in Minnesota, were the farthest-traveling Frog Leg Festival visitors VeroNews.com spoke with over the 4-day event.
“We traded snow shoes for webbed feet,” Bim quipped.
He and his wife decided this would be the year they would winter in Florida – staying in Cocoa Beach.
Karen found out about the Fellsmere festival while navigating the city of Cocoa Beach’s Web site and happened upon an event calendar.
“This one sounds like fun,” she recalled telling Bim when she saw the event online – so they decided to head south for Fellsmere to try out the fried frog legs and gator tail.
“That was the first thing on our menu,” Bim said. “These are delicious,” he added of Fellsmere’s offerings, noting that the frog legs have the texture of fowl and flavor of pan fish.
While at the festival, they entered several prize drawings, including one for an airboat.
“I don’t know what we’d do with an airboat in Minnesota,” Karen said.
Others from out-of-state were the Bornsteins, who traveled from Boston, Mass., to Sebastian for a family member’s bar mitzvah.
The family members they were staying with in Sebastian told the Bornsteins about the Frog Leg Festival and it sounded like a good time, Sandra said.
They rode the mechanical bull, other carnival rides, and of course, snacked on the festival’s grub.
“It’s freezing,” Sandra said of the weather back home. They return to Massachusetts on Tuesday.
Ed and Betsy Dickens winter in Rockledge, Fla., coming for about four months from West Jefferson, NC.
This was their first time traveling to Fellsmere for the festival, though they’ve known about it for years.
“I’m a frog leg lover,” said Ed.
They finally decided to head to the event when friends of theirs in Rockledge chose to come along.
“We’ve been hearing about it every year,” Betsy said, and they weren’t disappointed.
A little closer to home, David and Charlotte Matthews drove to Fellsmere for the weekend from Bradenton, Fla. They stayed in Vero Beach while visiting the area.
David said he found out about the festival when he saw an advertisement for it in Garden and Gun Magazine.
The Matthewses made a beeline for the frog legs and gator tail and picked up a combo plate to munch on while listening to the live entertainment on stage.
“That’s the best part so far,” Charlotte said of the music.
Organizers had expected to draw about 80,000 people to the 4-day festival. Whether or not that number actually visited is up for debate as there was free attendance and parking, making it difficult to calculate.
However, each of the four days drew large – though manageable – crowds of people hungry for the food, fun and music.
The festival serves as a fund-raiser for children’s recreation in the City of Fellsmere. With just 4,500 people living in town, the city doesn’t have a budget for recreation and relies on the generosity of the community and the hard work of the Frog Leg Festival committee to provide financial support.
Did we miss you? If you came from farther away than northern Minnesota, we want to hear from you. Where did you come from? Why’d you come? And how’d you like the Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival?
License Plates seen around the Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival’s parking: