What is the JuLionfish Festival?
Enjoy an all-inclusive evening at the Aquarium during the JuLionfish Festival! This 21+ event includes live entertainment, lionfish tastings, small bites from local restaurants, a lionfish filleting demonstration, beer and wine and a silent auction. Learn more about the elusive lionfish, connect with other like-minded folks and celebrate the efforts of divers who participated in the JuLionfish Derby, a three-month-long competition to remove as many invasive lionfish from South Carolina waters as possible. Proceeds benefit Reef Research, a South Carolina Aquarium program focused on offshore research and fieldwork for scientific discovery and sustaining a balanced ocean. Tickets for the JuLionfish Festival can be purchased here.
How much are tickets to the JuLionfish Festival and what does it include?
Tickets are $65 and members are $60. Tickets to the JuLionfish Festival include entrance to the Aquarium, small bites and lionfish tastings, beer and wine bar, live entertainment, a silent auction and more!
What is a lionfish derby?
Spoiler alert – it’s not a horse race! A lionfish derby is a competition for divers to go out and remove, or cull, as many invasive lionfish as they can from the Atlantic Ocean. Lionfish derbies can be one-day, weekend, and even month-long competitions. Each diver must register to be entered in the competition. The goals are simple: They can dive as many times as they want during the derby period to remove as many lionfish as they can. Once they get back on land, divers record their lionfish removal efforts to be eligible for certain awards following the derby period, such as largest lionfish, smallest lionfish, most lionfish, etc.
What is different between the Derby and the Festival?
The JuLionfish Derby is the three-month-long competition (occurring May 1–July 27) geared toward certified divers to remove invasive lionfish off the coast of South Carolina. The JuLionfish Festival (occurring July 28) is the celebration that follows the end of the derby period. It is an all-inclusive event open to the 21+ community to celebrate diver efforts and learn a bit more about invasive lionfish and sustainable seafood practices.
Why do we need to remove lionfish from the Atlantic Ocean?
Lionfish are an invasive species in the Atlantic Ocean. They have venomous spines that surround their body, can reproduce rapidly and have voracious appetites. However, they are a great sustainable seafood option for our region, as they don’t belong in the Atlantic Ocean to begin with.
I am a diver. Can I still participate in the JuLionfish Derby?
Yes! Derby registration is still open and you can register for the Derby here; divers can register for the Derby + Festival, or just the Derby. Registration includes an official event T-shirt, a participant’s meeting, commemorative challenge coin and eligibility for prizes.
What time do doors open and when does the event end?
Doors open at 7 p.m. No entry will be allowed after 9:15 p.m. No re-entry to the event is allowed. Tasting stations and bars will close at 9:45 p.m., and the event concludes at 10 p.m.
Will I be able to buy tickets at the gate?
With a limited number of tickets available, we anticipate selling out prior to the event. We encourage all who wish to attend to buy tickets prior to the event. If there are tickets available on the date of the event, you will be able to buy them at the gate. Please note, to avoid ticket scams, only purchase tickets directly from the official website at scaquarium.org/JuLionfish
What should I wear?
Most attendees of the JuLionfish Festival come dressed in summer casual attire.
What should I bring?
Please have your photo I.D. ready. The JuLionfish Festival is a 21+ event. You may also bring a refillable water bottle, but no other outside food or beverage is permitted.
Will this event take place if it rains?
Yes, all events are held rain or shine.
Can I receive a refund for my ticket if I can no longer attend?
All tickets are non-refundable.
Where should I park?
There is a city-operated parking garage located at 24 Calhoun Street, as well as metered parking in the areas surrounding the Aquarium. If you drive to and from the event, please do so responsibly.