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Gulf Coast Food Festivals Warm Chilly Winter Days

by S. Lynne on January 9th, 2014

Winter is prime time for food festivals along the Gulf Coast. Following are details on some of the most popular, coming up in the next few weeks.

Apalachicola Oyster Cook-off — Friday, January 17, 6 – 8 p.m., and Saturday, January 18, noon – 5 p.m., Riverfront Park

On Friday evening, there will be a preview of oyster-related silent auction items, plus a sampling of the tasty Apalachicola Bay bivalves.

Saturday’s cook-off starts at noon, with judging and live entertainment (bands and dancing) starting at 2 p.m. Oysters prepared every conceivable way – raw, steamed, fried, baked – will be served, along with other refreshments.

Proceeds benefit the Apalachicola Volunteer Fire Department. For more information, visit

Sandestin Gumbo Festival, Friday and Saturday, February 14 and 15, the Village of Baytowne Wharf.

The festival weekend starts Friday night with a seafood boil at Baytowne Marina Bar and Grille. Cost for the event, which begins at 2 p.m. and continues until the food runs out, is $15 per person. For more information, call 850-267-7778.

Saturday marks the 25th year of the Sandestin Gumbo Festival with live Zydeco music and activities for the kids as well as samplings of delectable chicken, sausage, and seafood gumbos from leading Gulf Coast restaurants and businesses. Hours for the festival are noon to 4 p.m.

Advance tickets are available now for $20 per person ($25 on the day of the event). For tickets and more information, click on

Note: The Sandestin Gumbo Festival will take place rain or shine!

Emerald Coast Parrot Heads Annual Chili Cook-off  – Saturday, February 22, noon – 4 p.m., HarborWalk Village, Destin

Proceeds from the event benefit the American Cancer Society — Relay for Life. For more information, visit

St. George Island Regional Charity Chili Cook-off and Auction, Friday, February 28, through Saturday, March 1, center of St. George Island.

In addition to Saturday’s professional chili cooking contest, events will include a golf tournament (at St. James Bay Golf Course), the 5K Red Pepper Run, the Crock Pot Chili contest (for amateur cooks), Miss Chili Pepper and Mister Hot Sauce contests, and an art auction.

Event proceeds help fund the St. George Island Volunteer Fire Department and First Responders. For more information, call 850-927-2753 or visit


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