Preserving history with a side of gumbo

William Hatfield
Destin is bubbling with anticipation for the 8th annual Destin History and Fishing Museum’s Gumbo Contest, being held Saturday January 25th from 11:00 AM to 2:00PM at the Destin Community Center. Individuals and Restaurants alike will offer tastings of their best Gumbo recipes, all with the chance to proclaim theirs as The Best Gumbo in Destin.

There will be almost 40 different pots of gumbo and about 70 silent auction prize packages to bid on at this weekend’s Gumbo Contest, benefitting the Destin History & Fishing Museum.

Set for Jan. 25 at 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the DestinCommunity Center, the yearly fundraiser is shaping up to be one of the biggest ever — with the largest variety of gumbo, with cooks from as far away as New Orleans.

Ticket prices are $10 in advance and$12 for the “day of” and includeadmission to the museum across the street.

“Folks can have their fill of gumbo and be gumbo’ed out” and then take in the history of the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,  said organizer and museum associate director Kathy Marler Blue.

The price of admission includes tastings of all the contestants’ entries. The gumbo will be judged in categories of “best individual” and “best restaurant” along with a people’s choice award for both categories. As in the past, individuals who enter the contest do not know whose recipe they are serving until all the ballots are tallied.

The event will include live music performed by Flash Flood.

In addition to the gumbo, up to 75 unique silent auctions packages will be available to bid on including 25 pieces of artwork, jewelry, fishing trips, golf, and restaurant gift certificates. If you are looking to get away, there will be Biloxi casino stays at The Grande, IP, and Golden Nugget. Other out of area stays include Atlanta with VIP Braves game tickets, a jaunt to Deer Ridge Mountain Resort in Gatlinburg, or New Orleans at the Maison Dupuy. If you’d prefer a staycation, there will be local vacation packages from the Emerald Grande, Inn on Destin Harbor, Newman-Dailey, Pelican Beach, Ramada Inn, or Southern Vacation Rentals.  

“You are going to be buying gifts. You are gonna be buying something for a spouse,friend or yourself,” she said. “So why not get it at a discount price thatis tax deductible?”

The eighth annual event is all the more important to the caretakers of our local history, because the Destin Seafood Festival is typically their largest fundraiser of the year. That October event was scrapped at the last minute under the threat of Hurricane Karen.

“With the Seafood Fest being canceled that was a humongous hit,not just for us but for everybody,” Blue said.  

For more information about the event, visit or call 850-837-6611.

Whose roux rules the roost?

As of Tuesday morning, those restaurants competing for best gumbo are:

98 BBQ, 790 on the Gulf, AJ's Seafood & Oyster Bar, Back Porch, Boathouse, Boshamps, Bubba Gump, Buster's Bar & Grill, Captain Dave's on the Gulf, Crab Island Cantina, Fisherman's Wharf, Golden Corral, Grande Vista Bar & Grill, Groovey Grouper Grill, Harry T's, Old Hag's Restaurant, Pompano Joe's, SunQuest Cruises.

Individuals competing for the gumbo gold are

Cherri Anderson, Kelly Anderson, L'Rena Anderson, Scott Boutte, Anna Boudreau, Louis Burkart, James Calderazzo, Alvin F. Claybrone, Pat Federinko, Mike & Richard Fitzgerald, Dot Jones, Jerry McCrory, Tom & Joann Minerva, Jeff Morrison, Charlie Noonan, Tom Ogle, Bill Patty, Lori Schmitz-Janowski, Jerremy Whitehead.