Are those kids wearing Shrimp fest T-shirts in Africa?

Nonprofit festival's committee makes donations to worthy groups each month

Jessie Stalnaker and Jennifer Fritts with two children at the Okoa Refuge in Uganda, Africa.
Jessie Stalnaker and Jennifer Fritts with two children at the Okoa Refuge in Uganda, Africa. (Photo from Pirate Communications)

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – The reputation of the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival extends well beyond Fernandina Beach, but has it spread all the way to Africa?

A little-known fact about the Shrimp Festival is that the committee donates cash to other nonprofit organization throughout the year. Recently, it donated unsold Shrimp Festival T-shirts to an African orphanage.

Every month the Shrimp Festival treasurer makes cash donations to local groups such as Micah’s Place, the Girl Scouts or the Nassau Education Foundation. 

Recently, Hospitality and Volunteer Chairperson Jennifer Fritts took a mission trip to the Okoa Refuge in Uganda, Africa. She took 75 leftover festival T-shirts and donated them to a local orphanage.

“The children looked adorable running around the orphanage in those Shrimp Festival shirts,” Fritts said.

Fritts migrated to Amelia Island in 2015, immediately got plugged in to the community and found serving on the Shrimp Festival committee to be one of the most rewarding things she has done.

“I can vouch for what an enormous production it is behind the scenes. It takes hundreds of volunteers - hundreds of hours o pull off this family-friendly weekend event,” Fritts said.  “This prideful island embraces a spirit of volunteerism and enthusiasm that is very special. Being a part of this community and the festival has revived my sense of community service and teamwork. It takes a village!"

The 55th annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival will be held May 4-6 in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach. The traditional Pirate Parade will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday to kick off the weekend’s festivities. There will be a Kid’s Fun Zone, over 400 art, craft and antique vendors, nationally recognized entertainment, the Miss Shrimp Festival pageant, contests, pirates, and of course, plenty of shrimp served up by Nassau County nonprofit organizations.

The festival is free to attend.

Anyone interested in participating this year is asked to contact volunteer@shrimpfestival.com for more information.

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