The 2013 Shrimp & Grits: The Wild Georgia Shrimp Festival proved to be shrimp-ly fantastic! During the 8th annual festival, held
September 20 to 22 on Jekyll Island, several thousand guests came to taste the best shrimp and grits in the South from participating vendors and chefs.
Coming out on top was Chef Dave Snyder and his team from Halyard’s Restaurant on St. Simons Island, which on 1st place in the Professional Chef Cooking Competition. Second-place in the Professional division was awarded to Southern Soul Barbecue, also of St. Simons Island, with Tasteful Temptations Catering nabbing 3rd place. The Consumers Choice award for the professional chefs was awarded to Purple Sage Catering.
For the Amateur Cooking Competition, Fat Bob & The Chile Dogs of Lawrenceville, Ga., won 1st place. Atlanta-based team Sea Watch won 2nd place, with Yum Yum Stand of Screven, Ga., winning 3rd. True Grit of Columbia, SC., took home the Consumer’s Choice Award.
During the Friday night $3 sample event, guests were invited to text their vote for their favorite vendor. That competition ended in a tie, between the Jekyll Island Club Hotel and Tasteful Temptations Centering.
More than 100 art and craft purveyors also set up shop throughout the weekend celebration, with vendors selling their wares as well as competing for top honors as the festival’s Best in Show. This year, 1st place and a $500 award was given to artist Candice Brown, of Elkin, NC. Second place and a $300 prize went to Shiu Ping Lee, of Mad Monk Art from Palm Coast Fl., with 3rd place and a $100 award won by Artifactual Adornments, from Marshal, NC.
The festival was also a time to raise funds and awareness about the Jekyll Island Foundation, which raises funds for Jekyll initiatives such as the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. Fat Tire Brewery donated a beach cruiser bike and Shock Top Brewery donated a wooden, rounded cooler, each which was raffled off on Sunday. Winning the bike was Mike Davis, and Linda Ober took home the cooler.
New this year to the Shrimp & Grits Festival was the partnership between Jekyll Island and Southern Living magazine. During the three-day festival, Southern Living was on hand to help facilitate a cooking demonstration from the magazine’s test kitchen expert and blogger, Vanessa Rocchio, who additionally signed copies of her cookbook, “Southern Living: What’s for Supper.” Additionally, an intimate concert was held at the Jekyll wharf Saturday evening, bringing in three songwriters and performers. For the Southern Living: Songwriters in the Round showcase, guest stars Rob Crosby, James Dean Hicks and Brett Jones crooned crowds with their soulful hits.
Returning again for the 2013 festival was the 2nd annual Craft Brew Tasting. Held in the renovated Morgan Center, the tasting featured several dozen beer selections from Southern Eagle Distributing, including R.J. Rockers, Southern Tier and Shock Top beers. The tasting brought in more than a thousand Shrimp & Grits guests, and is sure to be a staple event for the trademark festival in coming years.
We can’t wait to start planning for the 2014 event. We’ll see you there!