Sold-out Shrimp and Grits Festival brings in big dollars for Boys and Girls Clubs

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

Great weather, big crowds and good food were on the menu Saturday as people came by the droves to Destin harbor for the fourth annual Shrimp and Grits Festival. 

With the temperatures in the high 70s, the sold-out festival raised more than $40,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast. 

“It sold out quickly,” said Tyler Jarvis, one of the organizers for the event. 

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast took second place in the People's Choice awards for their shrimp and grits.

Jarvis said they had people come in from Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Illinois. 

“This is the best weather we’ve had all year,” Jarvis said as he walked about the festival on the harbor behind Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer. 

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“We have great chefs … and just blessed to be here,” Jarvis said. 

The festival drew a few newcomers to the event. 

The 4th annual Shrimp and Grits Festival on the harbor was a sold-out event, with 1,200 tickets sold.

“This is our first time,” said Waylynne Harris of Bluewater Bay and her friend Lisa Litka of Destin.

“But it won't be the last time,” Litka said.

“Plus, we’re happy to support our community,” Litka added. 

Ruth Chitiyo and Gabino Alfonso drove from Dothan, Alabama, to taste the shrimp and grits. 

Shannon Vogt of the Boathouse dips it up and Amber Helton passes out the shrimp and grits to festival goers on Saturday.

“We heard about it on Instagram … and we’re having a good time,” Chitiyo said as they tried their third bowl of shrimp and grits. 

“We love it that’s why we came down,” Alfonso said.

Councilwoman Teresa Hebert attended the event with her husband, Stephen, and was making her way around to all the tents from the various restaurants. 

Gabino Alfonso and Ruth Chitiyo of Dothan, Alabama said they came to the festival on Saturday because they "love" shrimp and grits.

“Brotula's is going to give them a run for their money,” Hebert said, noting she liked the bread with the jalapenos that they added with it. 

At the festival, 12 different restaurants served up their take on shrimp and grits. 

When it was all said and done the winners were: 

Knife's Edge Private Chef and Catering wib the Judge's Choice Best Overall at the 4th annual Shrimp and Grits Festival.
  • People’s Choice 1st: East Pass Seafood & Oyster House. 
  • People’s Choice 2nd: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast. 
  • People’s Choice 3rd: Knife's Edge Private Chef and Catering. 
  • Judge’s Choice Best Grits: Brotula's Seafood House & Steamer.  
  • Judge’s Choice Best Overall: Knife's Edge Private Chef and Catering. 
  • Judge’s Choice Most Creative: The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast.