Yaga’s Entertainment will present its eighth annual Galveston Island Shrimp Festival — rain or shine — Sept. 29 and Sept. 30 on Galveston Island. The annual event, which is a seafood lover’s paradise, will feature some of the best shrimp gumbo the Gulf Coast has to offer.

Festivities kick off at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29 with the VIP Sponsor Party and Texas Size Shrimp Dinner at Saengerfest Park, 23rd and Strand streets, honoring the festival’s sponsors and cook-off teams.

Along with expanding the festival onto the north parking lane of 22nd and Strand streets to allow for more cook-off teams and vendors, organizers also are excited to welcome back Ron Hoover RV and Marine Galveston whose boats will be on display along Strand Street for patrons to enjoy during the festival, said Sarah Spak, marketing coordinator for Yaga’s Entertainment.

“With all the new and exciting things this year, there also will be a new ticket option for those who want to eat fried shrimp,” Spak said. “It features a plate of fried shrimp, with one cup of shrimp gumbo and a 16-ounce beer. This particular option will be available from noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 30 at Saengerfest Park.”

Also new this year will be the Shrimp Festival’s official 5K event on the seawall (instead of downtown) at 9 a.m. Sept. 30, presented by Moody National Bank.

“Runners and walkers will get to run on the sand and enjoy Galveston’s beautifully rebuilt beach,” Spak said. “The official 5K features chip timing, a costume contest, gumbo tasting options, free libations and a technical T-shirt!”

Shrimp won’t be the only thing on deck at the festival, which is expected to have 12,000 people in attendance this year.

The Heights Funk Collective, a nine-piece band based in Houston, will be playing its style of classic funk, R&B, Latin and Jam Improv on Sept. 30.

Sept. 30 events in the Historic Strand District begin at 10 a.m. where attendees will be able to purchase a gumbo sampling cup in advance for $10, plus tax, through Sept. 18. Sampling of gumbo will be from noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 30. Ticket prices will increase to $12 after Sept. 18 (the extra $2 will be donated to a Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund).

Other events Sept. 30 include the Lil’ Shrimps Parade at 3 p.m., sponsored by Galveston Shrimp Co., with festive floats, a marching band and bead tossing, and the Strand Merchant Walkabout from noon to 4 p.m. where contestants will visit participating Strand merchants for a chance to win over $300 in gift cards.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the University of Texas Medical Branch’s Justin Hughes Fund and The Ronald McDonald House of Galveston. Over the past seven years, a total of $29,000 has been donated to these two charities from the shrimp festival.

“We feel it is very important to give back to our community, we love Galveston and supporting nonprofits who do so much for the families and students of Galveston,” Spak said. “The Ronald McDonald House of Galveston is a home away from home facility for families who have children receiving medical care in Galveston; and the Justin Hughes Fund of UTMB raises awareness and provides assistance to medical students experiencing depression.”

VIP Sponsor Party tickets are available to the public and are $50 per person. For additional information or to purchase tickets, visit www.galvestonshrimpfestival.com

“The Galveston Island Shrimp Festival is a celebration of Galveston’s Gulf Wild Seafood,” said Mike Dean, owner of Yaga’s Entertainment. “It is a day full of great food, great music and good friends. We look forward to seeing y’all there!”

Angela Wilson: 409-683-5239; angela.wilson@galvnews.com

Angela Wilson is the community news editor for The Daily News.

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