JuLionfish FAQ

What is the JuLionfish Festival?
Enjoy an all-inclusive evening at the Aquarium during the JuLionfish Festival! This 21+ event includes a lionfish filleting demo, dishes from local culinary partners, beer and wine, entertainment and more. Learn 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 culling 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. Buy tickets for the JuLionfish Festival here.

How much are tickets to the JuLionfish Festival and what does it include?
General admission tickets are $65 and member tickets are $60. Tickets to the JuLionfish Festival include entrance to the Aquarium, a lionfish filleting demo, dishes from local culinary partners, beer and wine, entertainment 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 or even month-long competitions. Each diver must register to be entered in the competition. The goals are simple: Each diver can dive as many times as they want during the derby period to remove as many lionfish as they can. Once they return to 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 culling competition (occurring May 1–July 25) geared toward certified divers to remove invasive lionfish off the coast of South Carolina. The JuLionfish Festival (occurring July 26) 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 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, 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. and re-entry to the event is prohibited. 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?
There are a limited number of tickets available for the event, and we do anticipate selling out. We encourage all who wish to attend to buy tickets early. Please note, to avoid ticket scams, only purchase tickets directly from our 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?
The JuLionfish Festival is a 21+ event, so please have your photo I.D. ready upon arrival. 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.

Get your Festival tickets before they sell out!
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