This festival has seafood, live music and booze - and it’s here all weekend

If you’re a seafood fan, try to make some time this weekend to check out the annual Heintz & Becker De Soto Seafood Fest.

Fried oysters, crawfish, jambalaya, snow crab legs and gator tips are just some of the favorites offered at the festival, which runs through Sunday.

The annual event moved this year from the Bradenton Riverwalk to Palmetto’s Sutton Park and, for the first time, offers free admission.

It was also the first time 2-year-old Darci Dennis got to explore the festival.

Roaming around with a red snow cone in hand and her mother, Tiffany, she especially enjoyed Friday night’s opening performer, Dewey Buxton.

“Her favorite part was the music,” her mother said. “As soon as we got here, she was out there dancing and she was sitting and stomping her foot. It was so great.”

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Two-year-old Darci Dennis got to explore the annual Heintz & Becker De Soto Seafood Fest for the first time with her mother, Tiffany, on Friday, March 23, 2018. Samantha Putterman

At least 250 people perused the aisles of booths that included locally crafted jewelry, clothing and art. Food for the non-seafood inclined is also available with offerings of BBQ, crepes, gyros, and more.

Tammy and George Mead were also first-timers at the fest.

The Mead’s moved from Denver to Manatee County back in August and said they are continually exploring what the area has to offer.

While Tammy admitted she expected the event to be a bit bigger, she said she was enjoying the festival.

“Every weekend we go out and try new things, go to new places, restaurants, you name it,” Tammy said. “We really do just love it here.”

Friday night brought on the more rock ’n’ roll lineup with opener Dewey Buxton, a local rock favorite, and headliner Maiden Cane.

But country fans will get a kick out of Saturday night’s slated performances, with singer-songwriter Eric Paslay headlining from 8 to 10 p.m.

Opening for Paslay is Craig Wayne Boyd, the season seven winner of “The Voice,” and there will be plenty of musical action throughout the festival with entertainers such as Kasey Williams, Rebel Heart and Carrie Welling.

Gates reopen Saturday at 11 a.m. and stay open until 10 p.m. Sunday’s hours are from noon until 6 p.m.

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