Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival


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Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival

Third full weekend in October
A festival of seafood, folk culture, sports, and pageants, the Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival has been held since 1976 in Niceville, Fla. It celebrates the unappreciated mullet, the underdog of seafood, and serves up 10 tons of fried and smoked mullet, plus vast quantities of "mullet dogs," mullet filets on buns. Attendance can reach upwards of 200,000.
Niceville is a small town about 50 miles east of Pensacola in the Florida panhandle. But people kept calling Niceville "Nashville," so, to publicize the town and to promote mullet the Boggy Bayou Festival was begun. Mullet, abundant in the local Gulf waters, is a cheap source of high-quality protein but has had a bad reputation among seafood fanciers because of its feeding habits. Mullet are bottom-feeding vegetarians, and they taste like what they eat. The people of Niceville know that only mullet caught from waters with clean bottoms—like those on Florida's Gulf Coast—are worth eating.
This sleepy bayou town's festival has exploded into a fully rounded affair. It has beauty pageants to name not only the Queen of the Mullet Festival but also Miss Teen Mullet Festival, Junior Miss Mullet Festival, and Little Miss Mullet Festival. Entertainment is on stage all weekend and arts and crafts are on display. Then there is the food. Beyond the mullet, these are samplings from the food booths: Cajun specialties like crawfish pie, gumbo, and gator sausage; American Indian staples of fried bread and pasole, which is like pizza; barbecued rabbit, stingray and barracuda on a stick, fried oysters, boiled shrimp, apple dumplings, strawberry pie, and Mexican fried ice cream.
CONTACTS:
City of Niceville
208 N. Partin Dr.
Niceville, FL 32578
850-729-4008
www.niceville.org
References in periodicals archive ?
The annual Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival, sponsored by the neighboring cities of Niceville and Valparaiso, celebrates the fish which saved the local economy during the Great Depression.