On Saturday, Feb. 27, over 2,000 people packed the Destin Harbor for the 2nd Annual Shrimp & Grits Festival. The second-year event is back and again, hosted by Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer
, highlighting local restaurants and chef’s spanning from Fort Walton Beach to 30A all to benefit the local Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast.
The afternoon started a little foggy and made for a wet start to the day, but the afternoon quickly turned sunny as the festival opened and made for a beautiful day on the harbor. With over 1,300 tickets sold online before the start date the event was sure to fill the boardwalk, attendees traveled from all over including Atlanta, Baton Rouge and as far as Tennessee for a weekend of delicious bites at the beach. Keeping in line with last year’s event, the onsite ticket sales sold out in under an hour. Over 2,000 pounds of shrimp were served along with heirloom grits, provided by Bayou Cora Farms, prepared in a variety of ways. We saw everything from bacon fat infused to the classic cheesy grits with toppings from andouille sausage, to roasted corn.
Local bands, The Shenanigans and Flash Flood, kept the crowd on their feet all day dancing and singing to classics while enjoying craft beer and cocktail samples provided by White Claw Seltzer, Idyll Hounds Brewery, Abita Brewing Company, New Amsterdam Vodka, Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, RumHaven Coconut Rum and Buffalo Rock Pepsi.
The top winners of the day were AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar taking home the coveted 1st place People’s Choice award; Knife’s Edge Private Chef & Catering, who took home the Judge’s Best Overall for the 2nd year in a row was another favorite. Other winners included Sunset Bay Café, winning in two categories for Judges Best Grits, and the 2nd Place people’s choice. The sole food truck of the event, The Grub Slinger out of Freeport, took home 3rd Place People’s choice, as well as the Judge’s top pick for Most Creative.
The true winners were the kids and families across 3 counties that are served daily by the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast. The festival donated a grand total of $20,000 to the organization that serves over 1200 children across 8 clubs. They are devoted to “enhancing the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence through its programs focused on academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles.”
We are extremely thankful to all that attended, all of our cooking participants and all of our sponsors, including Imperial Dade, Cheney Brother’s Inc, Bayou Cora Farms, The Henderson Park Inn, The Henderson Resort, Florida Blue, Publix Charities and Buffalo Rock Pepsi for making this all possible. We were humbled by the response of the community for their continued support of this event, and excited for what our upcoming fall lineup has in store, and for the 3rd annual Shrimp & Grits festival in 2022.
Photo Credit: Zhalman Harris