GREAT GUMBO! Competition heats up in 25th annual Sandestin Gumbo Festival

Matt Algarin
Get your gumbo at the 25th annual Sandestin Gumbo Festival. With 19 participants, there will be no shortage of gumbo to sample.

Grab your spoon and ready your taste buds: The 25th annual Sandestin Gumbo Festival is right around the corner.

The President's Day weekend event, which has become one of the favorite winter food events along the Emerald Coast, is scheduled Feb. 14-15 at the Village of Baytowne Wharf and will feature the culinary creations of 19participating restaurants.

“The gumbo festival is one of our longest running and most enjoyable food events," said Lanier Motes, event manager for the Village of Baytowne Wharf. "Restaurants from the Emerald Coast serve up their best gumbo, hoping to take home the 'Area's Best' and 'People's Choice' awards."

The festivities kick off Friday Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. at the Marina Bar & Grill, where an old fashioned seafood boil will tantalize your taste buds. Cost is $15.

Saturday's signature event runs from 12-4 p.m., and guests can stroll the cobblestone streets of Baytowne while sampling some of the finest gumbo this side of New Orleans. Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe will provide the foot-tapping tunes, and there are plenty of family activities to keep you busy.

And don't forget to keep track of your favorite gumbo, as this is a competition and the winning restaurants will boast bragging rights for the next year. Guests are also eligible for raffle items from participating restaurants.

In addition to the People's Choice award, judges will award honors for the days' "Best Display." The awards ceremony begins at 4 p.m.

Be sure to grab your tickets to this culinary showdown. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the event. They are available at, or at Graffiti & Funky Blues Shack, Aloha Surf Company, and the Grand Sandestin Concierge.

A portion of the events proceeds will benefit Sandestin Foundation for Kids' causes and organizations that impact and make a difference in the lives of children.