Not even cold temperatures can keep a crowd of 30,000 away from the annual Grant Seafood Festival. The crowd, mostly adorned in winter wear, showed up today for the 47th annual Grant Seafood Festival.After 47 years, the festival is stronger than ever. When I started going back in 1981 or 82, the main attraction was the fried fish dinner—complete with cole slaw, baked beans, and hush puppies—and live music. It was a small town fish fry that eventually grew into a major Florida food festival, which was evident by the large number of folks (a couple of hundred at least) waiting in cold temperatures to catch shuttle buses at the Valkaria Airport to go to and from the fest. In other areas, near the orange groves, the locals shuttled patrons back and forth to the fest on tractor beds and golf carts.The festival runs today and tomorrow. There’s over 20 food booths offering anything from linguine with clam sauce, fried gator, steamed clams, key lime pie, conch fritters, conch salad, deviled crab, scallops, lobster rolls, fried oysters, fried clams, steamers, fried shrimp, seared tuna, lobster bisque, clam chowder, plus beer, wine, and soda. Hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and fries are available for those who don’t eat seafood.We started with the lobster bisque (awesome!), then moved on to fried shrimp, a lobster roll, and fried clams. We sat on the green, huddled in blankets and coats, while we listened to live music and enjoyed the food. I even ran into a few long-time-no-see fellow Orlandoians while I was at the fest. In addition to the food, the festival has a playground, historical exhibits, and a large arts and crafts area with about 100 or so vendors. One year, when my nephew was about 6, we walked over to see one of the caged lions or panthers (can remember what it was, but it was a big cat), when he jumped on the animal’s back before I could grab him. He posed for a photo, but I nearly fainted. That was at least 10 years ago, and we still talk about that particular year at the fest as if we went last week.I particularly liked the Day of the Dead figures, and the colorful bougainvillea. My grandson liked the booth that showcased bow and arrows, wooden swords, and other medieval weaponry. Other exhibits included jewelry, wood crafts, leather goods, soy-based soaps, sauces and spices, wind chimes, metal crafts, art, and yard ornaments. The wind was fairly strong today, so we didn’t get to visit all of them.The fest is located in Grant, Florida, in south Brevard County. It’s right off US Highway 1, just south of Malabar. The only thing not at the fest are carnival rides (they have them at the Strawberry fest), but I figured that it’s only a matter of time. This is one of the better Florida food festivals, and it’s worthy of at least one visit. Check out The Grant Seafood Festival’s website for more information about the fest. Save the date for next year: March 1-2, 2014.