Florida Manatee Festival

The Florida Manatee Festival returns to downtown Crystal River on Saturday and Sunday, January 14 and 15, to celebrate its 30th Anniversary of providing quality entertainment and manatee encounter opportunities for residents and visitors to our community.

This perennially favorite event is co-produced by the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce and Rotary of Crystal River and encompasses both sides of Citrus Ave. from the Waterfront at Third Street across US 19 to Crystal Street and surrounding areas.  The Florida Manatee Festival attracts over 20,000 people during the two days and has consistently been awarded the “Best of the Best” by readers of the Citrus County Chronicle for many years.

In celebration of its namesake Manatees, festival goers will have the chance to board free bus tours to Three Sisters Springs. The tours that will run continuously during the Festival are conducted in cooperation with the City of Crystal River with support from the Friends of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge.  For a closer look at the manatees in their natural settings, Manatee Boat Tours will be available from the City Pier at the end of Third Street for a nominal charge that will take you out into Kings Bay and other favorite hangouts of the manatees.

Musical entertainment will ROCK the Waterfront Stage as the Festival welcomes exciting new singer/songwriters who are gathering accolades worldwide as up-and-coming stars in the indie music scene.  Steve Everett, Mike Mentz, Amy Gerhartz and the group Melodime will entertain both Saturday and Sunday.  These artists, whose styles range from rock, pop, folk, blues and country, have toured and shared the stage with groups such as Sister Hazel, Johnny Lang, Zac Brown and Better Than Ezra. Everett has been nominated for Country Album of the Year, and Mentz is up for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year by the Independent Music Association.

Local favorites Jo Jo Jones with The Mel and Jo Jo Show will open the Waterfront Stage on Saturday morning prior to the headliner event, and DJ Diorio will start the action on Sunday morning.

An updated Festival layout will make moving around the event easier and will bring a second Beer and Wine Garden to the gazebo area by City Hall along with an expanded entertainment schedule.  Mellower than the Waterfront stage, the music will feature other hometown favorites Sophie Noelle and Jeff Jarrett.

Last year’s phenom street performer, David Ferman from America's Got Talent, will return to the streets of N. Citrus Ave. on both Saturday and Sunday with his bigger and better act, including a “death-defying escape”!

Children’s activities will make the grounds around Heritage Village come alive with sounds of happiness and delight.  Great games, activities and education information will keep your children (accompanied by an adult) thoroughly entertained. There will also be a Rock Climbing Wall, bounce house, pony rides and much more. 

Fine arts and craft artists, two food courts serving everything from seafood to BBQ and everything in between, and lots of opportunities to interact with local non-profit organizations and commercial businesses will round out the offerings for this year’s event.

Manatee Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.  Entrance fee is $5 for guests 12 and older.  Park at the Crystal River Mall and take a free shuttle to the Festival location.

The Chamber thanks its sponsors:

Presenting Sponsor
 Suncoast Credit Union

Gold Sponsors
Crystal Automotive & Motorcycle Group 
 Citrus County Chronicle 
Silver Sponsors
Citrus 95.3 / FOX 96.7 
Great Bay Distributors 
Norton's Riverside 
Plantation on Crystal River  Tampa Bay Times 
Bronze Sponsors
Brannen Bank 
 Citrus Sports & Apparel 
Home Town Values 
Maus Nissan of Crystal River 
Nick Nicholas Ford Lincoln 
WJXB Radio 

Friends of the Festival 
Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express Crystal River
Crystal River Mall 

Chamber Legacy Sponsors
Insight Credit Union 
Citrus Memorial Hospital  
Citrus County Sheriff's Office F.O.C.U.S. 
CareerSource CLM 

For information, contact the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce at 352-795-3149, or

Festival at a Glance

What: 30th Annual Florida Manatee Festival

When: Saturday, Jan. 14, 9 am – 5 pm; and Sunday, Jan. 15, 9 am – 4 pm

Where: Downtown Crystal River, at the intersection of Citrus Avenue and U.S. 19, stretching up through the shops and restaurants of Heritage Village and surrounding areas, down to the waterside area along King’s Bay.

Boat Tours: Local boat captains will offer boat tours on a first-come basis. Tickets are available for adults; children 12 and under free. The tickets are good only on the date purchased and will be sold at the boat dock area near northwest Third Street (Kings Bay Park).

Event website:
www.gomanateefest.com or

Chamber phone: 352-795-3149