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80,000 expected to flock to Fellsmere’s Frog Leg Fest Jan. 21-24

FELLSMERE — All 100 craft booths have been snatched up. All the volunteers are lined up. And more than 6,000 pounds of frog legs and gator tails have been ordered.

“It’s done!” said Frog Leg Festival President Maggie Sammons of organizing the four-day event.

Approximately 80,000 people are expected to descend upon the Old Fellsmere School’s grounds between Jan. 21 and 24 to partake in the festive fare – and other festival staples – along with midway rides, live entertainment and new competitions. Perhaps the biggest challenge this year for festival organizers will be accessing the kitchen at the Old Fellsmere School to cook up 4,000 pounds of frog legs and 2,500 pounds of gator tail, according to Sammons.

“We’ll be flying,” she said of working the kitchen to turn out an estimated 7,000 dinners.

Renovations to the Old Fellsmere School will not be done before the Frog Leg Festival this year, though the kitchen is expected to be up and running in time.

New to the festival this year are the Hay Bale Toss and the Hog Calling and the Pie Eating contests – the brainchild of the Frog Leg Festival’s entertainment crew, led by Debbi Allison, owner of the Longbranch Saloon.

Allison said that her committee was tossing around ideas for entertainment and struck on what the “good ol’ folks” from the country would have at their old fashioned outings.

“Why not here?” Allison asked. “Fellsmere’s about as country as you can get!”

To that end, the committee came up with new contests – which will be free to enter and will have prizes for the winners.

The Hog Calling Contest will be like a yodeling competition, Allison explained, adding that there won’t actually be any hogs involved.

The Pie Eating Contest will be decided by the person who eats their one pie first – instead of being decided by how many pies contestants can eat.

“My luck, someone would get hurt,” Allison said.

Inspired by her daily chores, Allison added the Hay Bale Toss. She and her husband rescue horses.

“I have to do it all the time, myself,” she said, adding that she wanted to bring others into it.

The Frog Leg Festival entertainment committee is seeking donations from individuals and businesses to provide prizes for the contests, Allison said. They are also hoping for bales of hay to be donated so the Hay Bale Toss competition can be held.

Anyone interested in donating to the contests can e-mail Allison at or call the Longbranch Saloon (772) 569-4075.

Also new is entertainment from the Mariachi Voces de America, which Sammons said should delight the crowd.

Allison said her group has worked hard to offer a diverse mix of music so there’s no excuse for people not to come out to the festival and have fun.

“It’s hard to cram all the entertainment into a few hours” each night, Allison said. “We need a second weekend!”

The Frog Leg Fest serves as a community fund-raiser to benefit recreation opportunities within the city for children. To date, the festival has collected and gifted back to the community $491,729, according to Sammons.

She expects this year’s event to push the donation level over the $500,000 mark.

Coming back to the Frog Leg Festival for the second year is beer at the nearby ball field, Sammons said. Last year – the 18th annual festival – the Fellsmere City Council approved changes to its ordinances to allow beer at the event.

Budweiser will be providing the beer this year and is one of the festival’s sponsors, too.

The festival is free to attend, though food, rides and items at vendors’ booths will have a cost.

Thursday, festivalgoers can purchase $15 armbands to ride the rides at the midway. The remaining nights, riders can purchase individual tickets. There is free parking in Downtown Fellsmere and at MESA Park, with free shuttle service to the festival.

There will also be food tickets that visitors can purchase at ticket booths to redeem. ATMs will be onsite, Sammons said.

The Frog Leg Festival got its start in 1990 and its inaugural event dished out 400 dinners before the frog legs ran out.


Frog Leg Festival at a glance

How to Help:

Donations are needed to supply prizes for the contests as well as hay for the Hay Bale Toss. To find out how you can help, e-mail or call Debbi Allison (772) 569-4075.

Festival Hours

Thursday & Friday: 4 – 11 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Frog Leg & Gator Tail Dinner Hours

Thursday & Friday: 4 – 9 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Parking – Free:

Downtown Fellsmere

MESA Park with free shuttle Saturday from 1 to 11:30 p.m., Sunday 1 to 6:30 p.m.

Things to Do, See, Eat:

Live Entertainment

Midway rides


Pony Rides

Frog Leg and Gator Tail Dinners

Traditional Festival Fare

Helicopter Rides

Frog & Gator Menu:

Frog Leg Dinner: $8; Includes Grits, Cole Slaw and Hush Puppies.

Frog Leg Sampler: $10; One Pound of Frog Legs Only, No Sides.

Gator & Frog Leg Dinner: $13; Includes Grits, Cole Slaw and Hush Puppies.

Gator Sampler: $12; One Pound of Gator Only, No Sides.

Entertainment Schedule:


7 p.m. – Hot Legs Contest

7:30 p.m. – Southern Cause


6:30 p.m. – Storm Rider

8 p.m. – Burnt Biscuit


12 p.m. – Tomorrow’s News Band

1 p.m. – Hay Bale Toss Competition

1:30 p.m. – Kid Fiddlers

3 p.m. – Chili Chicks Dance Performance

3:30 p.m. – Thunder Road

5 p.m. – Chili Chicks Finale

5:15 p.m. – Cantastick Finale

5:30 p.m. – Mariachi Voces de America

7 p.m. – Hog Calling Competition

7:30 p.m. – ESP Tribute Band


1:30 p.m. – Rose Hill Band

3 p.m. – Pie Eating Contest

3:30 p.m. – National Recording Artist, Blues Guitarist Kelly Richey

For more information about the Frog Leg Festival, call (772) 571-0250 or e-mail

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