Near the crossroads of Hwy 85 and Hwy 238, in the middle of the vast but beautiful Sonoran Desert, is the little town of Gila Bend, AZ. Here, travelers will find food, gas, sleeping accommodations, and once again...shrimp!
Yes, you read that right, s-h-r-i-m-p. Seafood, in the desert. Marine life in a land-locked region where temps reach as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a thing!
More than 10 years ago, this is where Farmer, Gary Woods, and the team at Desert Sweet Shrimp Farm decided they could produce some of the "world's best tasting" sweet shrimp.
"The idea of raising shrimp in the desert came about by a series of experiments and accidents culminating in the discovery that shrimp raised here in Arizona may be the best tasting shrimp in the world," explained Woods. "Best-tasting" because their farm-raised shrimp are grown in ponds rich in naturally occurring minerals, free of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, pathogens and even mercury.
To help promote this unique product, the Gila Bend Chamber of Commerce decided to host their first Desert Shrimp Fest, just a modest local street fair at the time. As the years passed though, the shrimp festival grew into a regional event that became a fast fave. It included a bevvy of vendors, live music, contests, raffles, a beer garden, and a smorgasbord of shrimp dishes to delight any shrimp lover.
Sadly, it appeared that the Shrimp fest would be a thing of the past, partly because the shrimp farmers closed up shop, and partly because Gila Bend was going through a transition. But breathe easy shrimp lovers, you can unite once again in this, the most unlikely of places to find fresh seafood...the Desert Sweet Shrimp Farm is back and growing shrimp, and the Town of Gila Bend is bringing back the festival!
The Desert Shrimp Fest returns Saturday, November 9th, 2019, and will run from noon to 10pm. Expect to fill up on shrimp for a modest price at this family-friendly affair.