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Destin gumbo contest, silent auction a favorite of locals and visitors

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log
The Destin Log

It’s a win, win situation.

Not only will folks get the opportunity to come out and taste some of Destin’s finest gumbo, but they will have the chance to bid on fishing trips, golf outings, gift cards and other items at the upcoming 14th annual Gumbo Contest and Silent Auction benefiting the Destin History and Fishing Museum.

“This is a favorite event for our winter guests and we have many calling in November and December to check the date,” said museum director Kathy Marler Blue.

The annual event will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Destin Community Center. Cost is $12 in advance and $15 at the door.

For price of entry, folks will get the chance to sample all the area’s finest gumbo, plus a chance to bid on the various gift packages.

“We always have a big crowd filling the Community Center gym with overflow in an additional room next to the kitchen. The guests love sampling the gumbo and seeing what the local restaurants have to offer,” Blue said.

“The auction offers such wonderful deals at a fraction of the cost to both our winter guests and locals,” she added, noting they also make good gifts.

The gumbo contest is divided into two divisions, individuals and restaurants.

Last year’s individual winners were Leanne and Craig Anderson, first; William and Alexa Braddock, second; and Cherri Jones, third.

In the restaurant division, Harry T’s took first place, while Margaritaville came in second and The Beach House, third.

Harry T’s will be back in the mix this year to defend their title.

"It’s a great way to get our great recipe out to the public,“ said Paula Mitchell, general manager of Harry T’s.

Mitchell said they enter each year because it’s a great way to get people to try it.

“They try it and then they come in here and eat it and eat our other good foods,” Mitchell said.

As for the winning gumbo, which is Mitchell’s recipe, she said it’s a combination of ingredients, starting with the trilogy for the roux used in many gumbo’s in New Orleans — celery, onions and peppers.

“We start with the basics and add our own flair. We don’t skimp on ingredients,” she said. "And people love it.“

As a matter of fact, Mithcell said they have won or placed every year in local gumbo contests since changing over to her recipe.

Harry T’s is just one of about a dozen local restaurants who will be serving up their finest mixtures.

But if you’d like to get in on the contest there is still time.

“We look forward to anyone that would like to enter their gumbo, either a restaurant or individual, it is not too late to enter,” Blue said.

Also if anyone has a donation that they would like to offer for the auction, call the museum at 837-6611.

The funds raised from the silent auction and gumbo contest go to support the museum, whose goal is to educate and stimulate the curiosity of visitors on the history of Destin and Northwest Florida.