Seafood Festival returns for a celebration of Southern food & culture

What began as an intimate festival with family and friends in the parking lot of Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks is now a culinary must-attend event in the Southeast.

The 11th annual Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival returns Feb. 19-25. The week-long culinary and cultural celebration brings together top chefs, mixologists, sommeliers, local seafood, artisans, and live music. This year’s events are a cut above and feature world-class James Beard House Foundation award-winning chefs, local restauranteurs showcasing their ocean- and farm-to-table chops, and first-hand experiences catching and eating your dinner.

“It took off in 2007 and has been growing since,” said Andrew Carmines, the owner of Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks, the restaurant behind the festival. “The decision to add more events was really an effort to offer something for everyone. We wanted to develop events that spoke to all residents and foodie visitors, and in order to do so, we needed to create multiple styles of events. It truly evolved in a very slow and organic way.”

The festival is hosted by the David M. Carmines Memorial Foundation, which raises funds for other local non-profit organizations including the Coastal Discovery Museum, Island Recreation Scholarship Fund, Port Royal Sound Foundation, Gullah Heritage Museum and Medical University of South Carolina.

Details and tickets for each event are available on www.hiltonheadseafoodfestival.com.

Seafood Festival Events

Lowcountry Seafood Experience on the Water
Times vary based on tides, Feb. 19-Feb. 22 at Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks
A two-hour excursion that includes instruction on shrimping, oystering, clamming and crabbing. Enjoy the catch at Hudson’s after the excursion. Call 843-304-2878 for reservations.

At Table Seaside: Discussions about the world of food + drink
4-6 p.m. Feb. 20 at The Beach House Resort
An afternoon discussion about the biggest trends in food like sustainable change, heritage ingredients, pushing the culinary envelope, at home trends, restaurant revelations and more.

Pitmaster 101
4:30-6 p.m. Feb. 22 at Waddell Mariculture Center
Learn techniques while guest pitmasters prepare for the Pig Pickin’ & Oyster Roast.

James Beard Foundation’s Celebrity Chef Tour
6-10 p.m. Feb. 22 at Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort
Get a taste of New York City’s James Beard House right here on Hilton Head Island. The multi-course dinner with wine pairings features a group of James Beard Foundation Award winners. The VIP Premier Patron ticket includes a private Meet & Greet Champagne Reception with the chefs and sommeliers.

Pig Pickin’ + Oyster Roast
6-9 p.m. Feb. 23 at Waddell Mariculture Center
Local and celebrity chefs and pit masters will prepare quintessential, Lowcountry-style dishes of local shrimp, whole hogs, whole chickens, chopped barbecue and more. There will be beer, wine, signature cocktails and live music.

11th Annual Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival
11 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 24 at Historic Honey Horn Plantation
Local restaurants will serve seafood specialities at the family-friendly festival. There’s also a kids zone, silent auction, crab races, arts and crafts booths and live music by Deas-Guyz. The VIP Lounge will have exclusive catering and bars and private parking access.

Official Seafood Festival After Party
6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at The Beach House Resort
After Party Highlights include signature drinks, chef tastings from The Porch Southern Kitchen + Bar, Jekyll Island Club & Resort and the Outer Bank’s iconic Sanderlings Resort. Enjoy a showcase of ocean inspired classic cocktails and culinary delights.

Seafood, Champagne + Gullah Sunday Brunch
10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks
A special brunch menu combines live music and bottomless Bloody Marys on the water.

Details and tickets for each event are available on www.hiltonheadseafoodfestival.com.