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Foo Foo Festival--showcasing Pensacola Florida’s art, culture, and entertainment

Science on the Streets of Pensacola Florida
Julie Henning

Join correspondent Julie Henning in Pensacola, Florida during the last weekend of the 2016 Foo Foo Festival. An anchor event each fall in Pensacola, Florida, the Blue Angel’s Homecoming Show signals the end of the tourism season and a time of milder temperatures and fewer crowds across the entire panhandle. 

Blue Angels perform above Pensacola, Florida
Credit Julie Henning
Blue Angels perform above Pensacola, Florida

For residents of Escambia County, it’s also a time to celebrate community and diversity in arts, culture, and entertainment during Foo Foo Fest.

A whimsical name for a whimsical festival, the expression foo foo originated on a 19th century naval vessel; a foo foo was an impromptu gathering of musicians aboard the ship. One seaman would ask another, “Are you going to the foo foo?”

Today’s Foo Foo Festival seeks to re-create a similar gathering of artists by tapping into the talent of local actors, singers, authors, chefs, storytellers, and dancers join ranks with the many musicians in the foo foo crew.

A twelve-day festival with events and activities across the entire country, Foo Foo Fest celebrates the talents of local actors, musicians, singers, authors, chefs, storytellers, and performers.

Henning visits with five 2016 ACE grant recipients: Megan Pratt with the Pensacola MESS Hall, local artists Ashton Howard and Evan Levin, Jessica Morgan with the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum, and Gerald Hall with the Pensacola Big Green EggFest.

Women who kept the light
Credit Julie Henning
Women who kept the light

Scheduled around the Blue Angel’s homecoming air show, the Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival, and the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival, Foo Foo Fest helps to fill in gaps in vacation itineraries, giving visitors options for extending their stay. 

To help reach this goal, local non-profit Art, Culture and Entertainment (or ACE) disseminates over $300,000 in grant money back to the community.

In 2016, over forty applications were received, with twenty-two recipients ranging from Ballet Pensacola to the African American Heritage Society, Clean Energy Fest, and the Pensacola Waterfront Mission.

Unique in their own way, each project or event impacts the greater Pensacola in a way that gives something back to the greater community.

Official dates for the 2017 Foo Foo Festival will be announced on in March. Plan the rest of your vacation itinerary, including lodging options at

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Keywords: Pensacola, Florida, Panhandle, Foo Foo Festival, Escambia County, Blue Angels, Fest, Gulf Coast, Community, Art, Culture, Entertainment, Music, Beach, Beach Vacation

Tom Wilmer produces on-air content for Issues & Ideas airing over KCBX and is producer and host of the six-time Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer. Recorded live on-location across America and around the world, the podcasts feature the arts, culture, music, nature, history, science, wine & spirits, brewpubs, and the culinary arts--everything from baseball to exploring South Pacific atolls to interviewing the real Santa Claus in the Arctic.
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