Seafood festival gives boost to Midtown

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PHOTOS BY DUANE C. FERNANDEZ SR./HARDNOTTSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM
Patrons stand in line to buy seafood from Stoney Farms. Some of the vendors participating in the Crab & Seafood Festival said they sold out.

BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

Hundreds of people flocked to Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard (historically Second Avenue) in the heart of Daytona’s Black community for a day of seafood, culture, music, fun and more at the Crab & Seafood Festival on May 18.

The event brought 30 vendors both locally and from out of town selling not only seafood but other foods, goods and services along Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard (MMB) between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Charles Street.

The event included live music along with deejay music by CStyles Entertainment.

Vendors sell out

The Crab & Seafood Festival is the brainchild of Brittany Presley through her business called Divine Designs Event Planning and Décor, LLC.

Presley is set to earn her bachelor’s degree from Bethune-Cookman University within a year. In addition, she is a wife and mother of four children.

“Today has been amazing. The crowd has been good. The community has been receptive. Many of the vendors left early after selling out,” Presley said on Saturday.

This was the first year of the event in Daytona. Presley also does a Crab & Seafood Festival in Port Orange, which she has hosted for the past three years. That one will take place later this summer at a date to be determined.

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‘Grown and progressed’

She brought a similar event to Daytona this year due to popular demand. The City of Daytona Beach co-sponsored the event.

“The event has grown and progressed. I was asked to bring a seafood event to Daytona by city officials who saw the event last year in Port Orange and thought it would be great for the city to have one. So, I came. The city has been very supportive, which helped make this happen,” Presley noted.

Daytona Beach Zone 6 City Commissioner Paula Reed said, “Brittany was a student in my class. I checked out her event last year and decided it should come here. I got with the city manager and we along with the commission made it happen.”

The Midtown Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit organization, also cosponsored the event.

Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry and his family are shown with festival organizer Brittany Presley, right.

‘Very diverse crowd’

Reed says that it is important to bring events like this to the city and community.

“This is a much-need event – not just our community but to our entire city. It gives people something to do and businesses a chance to make money. It’s a very diverse crowd out here. Everyone is invited.”

A goal of the festival is to provide an economic boost to the area, especially to local businesses.

“My hope is that many of the local businesses in the area, especially the Midtown area can participate and benefit. I only had three businesses in the area, but my hope is to have many more local businesses next year,” stated Presley.

A young server prepares a meal for a hungry festivalgoer.

Profits for vendors

For the many of the vendors. the festival was a success.

Deidre Gent, owner of Crabs In A Bucket of Ocala, kept long lines during the event, even later in the night.

She said, “This event has been pretty awesome. Business has gone undoubtedly well. We’ve had long lines all day. We’ve been very busy all day. This festival is definitely worth partaking in as a business.”

Daytona Beach entrepreneurs Keysha Pope and her mother, Kenya Griffin, sold skin care products for both men and women through their business called Sherrie’s Suga Scrubs.

“This festival has been very profitable today. It’s been worth attending for us today too,” Pope noted.

Percy Williamson chills out at the festival.

Good reviews

Residents also liked what they saw at the event.

Daytona resident Percy Williamson told Times, “The community responded very well to this event by coming out and showing up in a big, big way. It was well put together by Mrs. Brittany Pressley. Congrats to her. Job well done! I think it went very well for everyone.”

Others said they enjoyed the food and had a good time.

“It was great, the line dancing, the deejay, the food was great. I got to film some line dancing. I enjoyed an ice cream treat and some conch fritters. The crowds were pleasant. The weather was perfect,” responded Terica Charles.

For more information on the Crab & Seafood Festival, contact Brittany Presley at divinedesignsevent.com.

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