A “Shrimp Festival” may sound like a crazy celebration in a quaint river town in Southern Illinois but it is one you DO NOT want to miss! While the Mississippi grass shrimp calls several rivers in southern Illinois its home, at only two inches long it’s not going to fill your belly.

Topping out at only two inches long, it will take a lot of Mississippi grass shrimp to fill your plate. This is where our friends on the gulf coast step in! Image courtesy: Missouri Dept. of Conservation

Luckily more succulent and meaty shrimp from the U.S. Gulf Coast aren’t too far away! Believe it or not, the surrounding area in southern Illinois also shares a history of sustainably farmed shrimp.

The Golconda Shrimp Festival was named the #1 Food Festival in the state of Illinois by National Geographic Traveler magazine and has become the premiere event showcasing the natural beauty of rural Pope County and the vibrant history of one of Illinois’ first river towns.

At Shrimp Festival-

Food is priority. Come enjoy the streets lined with vendors serving a wide variety of shrimp dishes sure to satisfy every shrimp lover’s appetite. Plus, we have much more than just shrimp to eat. You can also find award- winning BBQ along with corndogs, funnel cakes, and much more!

Beverages Check out our beer and wine tent for a variety of beers and local wines.

Entertainment is a must at any festival and our Main Stage is the place to be. We have had a variety of bands over the years from country, and bluegrass to rock and folk.

Events we have had include Corn Hole Tournament, 5Ks and much more. Interested clubs and organizations are welcome to host activities. Contact us if you are interested!

For the kids we have had inflatables, dunking booths, face painting, and petting zoos and more! Interested clubs and organizations are welcome to host activities. Contact us if you are interested!

Shopping check out the Farmer’s Market starting at 8am and then stroll through the courtyard for a wide variety of arts and crafts vendors. Don’t forget the local shops in town too.

Activities Helicopter rides and Horse and Carriage rides always make wonderful memories and give a tremendous view of the town. Walk down Main Street toward the river and stop by the City Museum rich with local history. From the levee you can cross Lusk Creek on the footbridge to the Oasis on the Ohio marina.

Golconda Shrimp Festival is always the third Saturday in September. More event info can be found here.

Are you interested in volunteering at the festival? It’s a lot of fun and there’s some perks too! Click here to apply.

Vendors interested in participating can find forms and information here.

We’d like to thank our sponsors below for the 2023 Golconda Shrimp Festival and look forward to working with sponsors for our 2024 festival. Are you interested in becoming a sponsor of our non-profit’s work? Click here to learn more!