The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast (BGCEC) is hosting a new, mouthwatering event just for you. Save the date for the area’s first-ever Mac & Cheese Festival on Sunday, May 19, at Destin Commons. Featuring gourmet, chef-inspired twists on the South’s favorite comfort food, this family-friendly event will pit the area’s favorite restaurants against one another in a competition to see who has the best mac on the Emerald Coast.

“We are excited about this new fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club,” Shervin Rassa, CEO of the BGCEC, said. “Everyone loves mac and cheese, and we can’t wait to see what all of the competitors come up with.”

Festival-goers will get to sample more than a dozen renditions of mac and cheese created by local chefs and restaurants. Samples will be available to purchase for $1 each the day of the event, or attendees may pre-purchase a bundle of 20 tickets online at This ultimate mac and cheese showdown will feature more than 13 vendors, including Paula Dean Kitchen, Red Fish Taco, Stinky’s Fish Camp, Longhorn Steakhouse, Panera Bread, Olive Garden, 790 on the Gulf, 98 Bar-B-Que, End of the Line Cafe, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Okaloosa Island Fire Department, Chef Kelsea Koch, and Signature Catering 30A. There are a few remaining spots open. Chefs or restaurants interested in participating, should email

Restaurants competing have a chance to win three awards, People’s Choice, Kids’ Choice and Judges’ Pick. Participants can vote for their favorite dish at the event to determine the winner of the People’s and Kids’ Choice Awards. Judges’ Pick is selected by the BGCEC’s panel of  judges Susan Benton of 30aEats, The Destin Duchess Molly Carter, Kenzie Lohbeck of Rowland Publishing and the 2018 BGCEC Youth of the Year.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the BGCEC, which works to promote and enhance the development of local boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence through its programs focused on academic success, healthy lifestyles, good character and citizenship.

In addition to searching for restaurants to compete, the BGCEC encourages businesses outside of the restaurant industry to participate by becoming a sponsor. Sponsors, which receive a number of marketing benefits for their support, remain a vital part of this fundraiser, allowing the BGCEC to raise money to further its mission in our area.

To learn more about the vendor or sponsorship opportunities, visit or contact For more about attending this event or to purchase sample tickets, visit