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Event Preview: 11th Annual Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival

Next month, Hilton Head will be celebrating southern heritage and culture by showcasing the best culinary experiences the Lowcountry has to offer. The 11th Annual Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival is a week-long culinary and cultural tourism event held February 19-25, 2018.

The Seafood Festival is hosted by the David M. Carmines Memorial Foundation, a non-profit founded to support other charities on Hilton Head Island. The event features include top chefs, sommeliers, mixologists, local seafood, artisans, live music, and wildlife coming together to give you one of the best festival experiences of the year.

The David M. Carmines Foundation also benefits the Island Rec Center. They also have a breakdown of festival events you can check out by clicking here.

When looking through the event line-up, it is hard to keep your mouth from watering and your inner chef ready to go out and learn from all the master chefs that are going to be showcasing their talents this February. Check out the full line-up below, or click here to go to the event website.

Author’s Note: The event website rocks, and is where we got most of the information included in our event descriptions – credit where credit’s due. Make sure it check it out.


Monday, Feb. 19 – Thursday, Feb. 22

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks

Hosted by Christopher and Matthew Shoemaker, two local expert waterman, the Lowcountry Seafood Experience on the Water is a hands-on lesson in shrimping, oystering, clamming, and crabbing. Christopher and Matthew will take their guests through the skills required to “put food on the table”, quite literally since after the work is done you will be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor for a meal at Hudson’s.

Tickets are $69 and include a complimentary soft drink or draft beer at Hudson’s. Spots are going to fill up fast – you can call Christopher at (843) 304-2878 to reserve.

Want to learn more about these excursions? Check out the Bluffton Episode of Hilton Head Island Cast powered by Palmera.


Thursday, Feb. 22

4:30 – 6:30 PM, Waddell Mariculture Museum

Do you consider yourself a master of the barbecue? Spending your days watching Food Network festival specials, thinking that could be me if only I could attend a seminar on techniques to get that extra edge? If yes, or kind of yes, or even if you just like barbecue – this is the event of the week for you.  The Pitmasters are giving you the opportunity to see what goes into preparing for the Pig Pickin’ and Oyster Roast, teaching techniques and (the main draw) taste testing.

There is a limited class size and tickets are only $39 so they’ll go fast. You can buy yours here.


Thursday, Feb. 22

6:00 – 10:00 PM, Omni Hilton Head Ocean Front Resort

The James Beard Foundation is a New York City (Greenwich Village, to be exact) based foundation with the mission of celebrating, nurturing, and honoring chefs and other culinary leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable…. Which translates to these guys are good at making good food.

This is the first time this event will be featured during the Seafood Festival, and it sounds awesome. It’s a celebrity chef extravaganza with Chopped judge, Maneet Chauhan, Martin Rios, who got his start as a 17 year old dishwasher and worked his way up to Executive Chef at multiple prestigious hotels and restaurants, and Jimmy Banos, Jr., who has “restaurateur” in his blood and was JBF’s RisingStar Chef of 2014.

Tickets are $175 for General Admission, but if you want the premium experience you can get a VIP ticket for $220. VIP Patrons will enjoy a private “Meet and Greet” Champagne reception from 6-7 with chefs and sommeliers – AKA time to pick the brains of some elite culinary experts. Get your tickets here.


Friday, Feb. 23

6:00 – 9:00 PM, Waddell Mariculture Center

Definitely a Friday night for the family! They’ve got local shrimp, whole hogs, whole chickens, chopped barbecue and all those trimmin’s you come to the south for. Not to mention, a line up of brews, wines, signature cocktails and live music to keep you entertained while you enjoy the literal pickin’s.

This isn’t your typical Pig Pickin’ and Oyster Roast (if that exists) – it’s a culinary celebration of not only the Island’s best chefs, but celebrity guest chefs and Pitmasters (which is basically like graduate level of your typical barbecuer). PLUS – if you went to Pitmaster 101, you’ll basically be one of the smartest people there and can show off all your new knowledge. Tickets are $69 and can be purchased here.

Not familiar with the HHI Oyster Scene? Check out our O’Oyster Blog posted last month and learn more.


Saturday, Feb. 24

11:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Historic Honey Horn Plantation

This is the reason we’re all here – actual festival Saturday, where it all comes together. Here is a list of some of the things will be going on:

  • Area Restaurants and Chefs Serving Up Seafood
  • Kids Zone
  • Silent Auction
  • Famous Crab Races
  • Arts & Crafts Booths
  • Live Music by Deez Guyz for 12-4

Participating Restaurants include (but are not limited to…):

  • Crazy Crab*
  • Carolina Crab Company*
  • Marley’s Shimp and Burger Shack
  • Alexander’s Restaurant and Wine Bar
  • Miss Katie’s Sweets
  • Gullah Fried Sweet with Chef B
  • Sweet Lulu’s Bakery and Cocktail Caravan
  • K&K Gourmet
  • Red Fish
  • Calhoun Street Tavern
  • Sea Eagle Market
  • Old Oyster Factory
  • ACE Food Truck
  • World’s Greatest Funnel Cakes
  • Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks
  • B’s Cracklin Barbecue
  • SERG Restaurant Group

*Denotes Palmera Vacation Club Preferred Vendor

Children 10 & Under get in free, and General Admission tickets are $8, OR you can get a combo pack for $29 that includes two tickets PLUS 10 Food & Beverage tickets. VIP Lounge Admission is $89. Get your tickets here.

Learn more about Hudson’s, Crazy Crab, and other vendors in the “Food Glorious Food” episode of the Hilton Head Island Cast powered by Palmera. There is also information on the Outdoor Eats podcast, listen here.


Sunday, Feb. 25

10:30 AM – 1:30 PM, Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks

There’s nothing like a good brunch to end a good weekend… add in a Bottomless Bloody Mary Bar and it is safe to say there’s no better way to finish off the Seafood Festival. Along with the Bloody Mary Bar, brunch patrons can listen to live music and have a perfect waterfront experience while they enjoy a Special Menu filled with southern classics as well as new dishes, along with a raw bar and beverage stations.

Tickets are $59 and there are 10:30, 11:30, and 12:30 seating options for guests. Click here to get your tickets.

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