The Shrimp Festival weekend kicked off Friday in Sneads Ferry with food and fun for the local community.

Admission prices increased this year but the price of a ticket now includes all music and entertainment, plus unlimited rides.

“The price change was to try to make the festival more affordable for families,” said Lisa Hamner, chairwoman of the festival committee. “In the past, patrons paid admission and an additional fee for rides. This way everything is included.”

Patrons stopped by the Shrimparoo, the official Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival dining experience, to enjoy plates of fresh fried or boiled shrimp with slaw, fries and hush puppies

A number of bands performed at this year’s festival, including Bryan Mayer, Confederate Railroad and Telluride Bluegrass Band. Emily Minor performed on the main stage Friday night to start of the weekend long festival.

The festival celebrated the fishing community’s heritage and cuisine. The Shrimparoo is a plateful of fresh, wild-caught-shrimp. There were cooking demonstrations of shrimp dishes, including chipotle shrimp and grits, grilled shrimp with dipping sauces and various festival recipes. There were about 20 food vendors on site for those who did not want to partake in the Shrimparoo.

Saturday began with the Sneads Ferry parade and a visit from Miss North Carolina, Alexandra Badgett. Performances by Mason Jar Bonfire and Johnny Badcheck and the Bouncers entertained the crowds as the shrimp heading contest commenced. wing and Bryan Mayer were spread across the evening with a fireworks show wrapping up the night.

The festival is now in its 49th year and, last year, drew a crowd of about 10,000 people during festival weekend. In addition to musical performances, the festival activities include the Dakota & Friends Dinosaur Show performed throughout the weekend, the Sunday classic car show and a corn hole tournament on Saturday.

“Despite the rain, we had a good time with the kids,” said Bryan Johnson, former U.S. Marine. “We love being able to take the kids to do things, so we go to as many local festivals as possible. My girls spent half the day dancing.”

Sunday concluded the festival with performances by Telluride Bluegrass Band, Black River Pickers and Crawford & Power.

Festival proceeds benefited community organizations. The festival committee provides scholarships and supports Project Graduation, Odyssey of the Mind teams, scout troops from the area, and others.