8th Annual Gumbo Throwdown raises $6,752.43 for Fresh Start

Special to GateHouse Media Florida
At the check presentation were (from left) Mark Dutram, vice president of LPL Financial at First City Bank; Mary Wilson, executive director of Fresh Start for Children and Families; and Jonathan Slater, wealth advisor of LPL Financial at First City Bank. [PROFFITT PR/CONTRIBUTED PHOTO]

LPL Financial located at First City Bank hosted their Eighth Annual Gumbo Throwdown March 7 at the bank’s Fort Walton Beach location, raising $6,752.43 for Fresh Start for Children and Families, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families achieve long-term self-sufficiency through a nine-month residential educational program.

The event drew a crowd of over 400 attendees to sample endless tastes of gumbo from local restaurants. Guests enjoyed live music by Hurricane Donny & Marshall Jones, beignets provided by Good Things Doughnuts, a commemorative photo-booth from Epic Photo Co., and complimentary beer and wine. Upon check-in, guests received a token in order to vote for the coveted People’s Choice Awards for the Best Gumbo Along the Emerald Coast. The following winners were chosen by event goers:

1st Place People’s Choice Award — AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar

2nd Place People’s Choice Award — Fort Walton Yacht Club

3rd Place People’s Choice Award — SunQuest Cruises

A panel of select food critics and local celebrities judged each gumbo and selected the following winner for the most delicious and most creative Judge's Award — Signature Catering of 30A.

All awards were custom made by local artist Maxine Orange and the Judge’s Award winner received a custom trophy from The Trophy Center.

Through general admission ticket sales and raffle ticket sales, the event raised $6,752.43 for Fresh Start. All of the proceeds will go toward aiding the local area’s homeless population, and more specifically, funding Fresh Start’s housing and education programs that will ultimately help families achieve self-sufficiency.

First City Bank would like to thank the participating restaurants, including 790 on the Gulf, AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar, The Crab Trap, Fort Walton Yacht Club, The Island, Signature Catering of 30A and SunQuest Cruises.