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Destin History and Fishing Museum's annual Gumbo Contest and Silent Auction canceled due to virus

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

The virus has claimed yet another event.

Earlier this year, the Destin Seafood Festival was canceled for 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. Now the virus has knocked out another annual tradition: the Destin Fishing History and Fishing Museum's Gumbo Contest and Silent Auction.

"It is with deep sadness and heavy heart that we announce the cancelation of our annual Gumbo Contest and Silent Auction scheduled for Jan. 20, 2021," Kathy Marler Blue, executive director of the museum, announced Thursday. "We are devastated. ... This is the first time in 15 years that the event will not take place."

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The Gumbo Contest and Silent Auction, held at the Destin Community Center, is the museum's largest fundraiser of the year, drawing hundreds of people to test out area restaurants' finest gumbo as well as some of our local cooks' recipes.

More:Destin gumbo contest, auction big success for museum

Last year, about 500 folks poured into the Community Center to test the gumbo and bid on more than 150 auction items. 

The annual Gumbo Contest and Silent Auction always draws a big crowd at the Destin Community Center.

Between the ticket sales for the event and bids on packages, the event raised more than $16,000 for the museum, an increase of about $1,000 from 2018.

"This is our largest annual fundraiser, but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our staff, board members, volunteers, attendees and donors," Blue said.

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"This tough decision was based on the uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus and the concerns for those that support us, including our locals and winter guests," she added.

The snowbirds are a big supporter of the event, but this year even the Snowbird Roost at the Destin Community Center is not opening because of the virus.

"Our hearts go out to our local businesses that have faithfully supported us for this event and have been hard hit," Blue said. "Being a nonprofit, the event especially relies on sponsors and donors to make the event possible."

Folks take time to study and check out the 158 bid packages at the 14th annual Gumbo Contest and Silent Auction at the Destin Community Center on Saturday. Proceeds from the event benefit the Destin History and Fishing Museum.

And with Thanksgiving just days away, Blue said the museum would like to thank all those who have supported the gumbo contest and have made auction donations in the past.

"Dust off those gumbo recipes, practice and bring your 'A' game to our next Gumbo Contest and Silent Auction," Blue said. "We wish everyone a quick recovery from this pandemic."

Plans are already being made to hold the event in 2022 — mark the calendar for Jan. 29, 2022.

Long-time Destin resident Dottie Jones serves up her gumbo at the 14th annual Gumbo Contest and Silent Auction at the Destin Community Center on Saturday. Jones won third place in the Individual Category.

For more information about the museum, visit the website or follow the museum on Facebook for upcoming events and new exhibits. The Destin History and Fishing Museum is at 108 Stahlman Ave.