Great Gumbo and Record Crowds at Sandestin Gumbo Festival

February 22, 2013 by SoWal Staff

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort announces record breaking crowds at the 24th Annual Gumbo Festival held over the extended Presidents’ Day Weekend, where nearly 2,000 attendees tasted and voted naming “People’s Choice”, while a panel of celebrity judges declared the coveted “Area’s Best” gumbo.

This longstanding winter food event has hosted numerous restaurants, businesses and guests over the last 24 years, but this weekend's Festival was a record with nearly 2,000 tickets sold. Guests enjoyed the great fall beach weather and tasted gumbo from 18 area restaurants and businesses.

“We are thrilled at the turnout for our 24th year of the Gumbo Festival,” says Lanier Motes, Special Event Manager for the Village of Baytowne Wharf. “The participation from our area businesses and restaurants along with enthusiasm from the guests made this year the most successful turnout to date.”

All participating restaurants and businesses were judged in three categories by ticket holders for “People’s Choice” and by a panel of judges for “Area’s Best” and “Best Display".

Volunteers counted the nearly 2,000 ballots cast by each ticket holder who voted Pompano Joe’s as “People’s Choice First Place”, Soundside at Hurlburt Field as “People’s Choice Second Place” and Baytowne Floating Society as “People’s Choice Third Place".

The 24th Annual Gumbo Festival is proud to have hosted a panel of food savvy celebrity judges including Elizabeth Taliaferro, Food Editor of Cooking with Paula Deen magazine; Susan Benton, Owner of; Frank Hess, Mitchell’s Fish Market; and the event emcee, Scott Rossman, NBC/WJHG-TV Sports Reporter. After tasting each participant’s gumbo in a blind judging, the panel awarded the following with the title of “Area’s Best” in three categories including: Veterans, Five Years and Under, and First-Time Participants.

The winners are: In the “Veterans” Category First Place went to Pompano Joe’s, Second Place to 98 Bar-B-Que, and Third Place to Tops’l Beach and Racquet Resort. In the “Five Years and Under” category First Place went to Marina Bar and Grill, Second Place to Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and Third Place to Soundside at Hurlburt Field. For the “First-Time Participants” category First Place went to Baytowne Floating Society, and Second Place to 790 on The Gulf.

Marina Bar and Grill and Buster’s Bar and Grill tied for “Best Display”, also determined by the judging panel. Buster’s Bar and Grill has competed in the Sandestin Gumbo Festival each year of the event.

The Sandestin Gumbo Festival is proud to partner with The United Way, where a portion of the net event proceeds benefit local United Way agencies and The Walton County Education Foundation; and these local sponsors: The Village of Baytowne Wharf, Visit South Walton, The Northwest Florida Daily News, The Destin Log,, Wave 102.1, Highway 98.1 and 103.1 The Blaze.

The 25th Annual Sandestin Gumbo Festival will be held on Saturday, February 15, 2014.  Visit for details coming soon.

About Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is a major destination for all seasons and all ages, and was named the #1 resort on Florida’s Emerald Coast. The resort invites guests to a world of 2,400 acres and 30 charming neighborhoods featuring 1,300 Destin vacation rentals, condominiums, villas, town homes and the best in Destin hotel accommodations. As a member of Visit South Walton and Visit Florida, the resort features more than seven miles of beaches and pristine bay front, four championship golf courses, 15 world-class tennis courts, 19 swimming pools, a 113-slip marina, a fitness center and spa, meeting space and The Village of Baytowne Wharf, a charming pedestrian village with events, shopping, dining and nightlife. People are invited to download Sandestin’s APP for iPhone and Android devices, or become a Facebook Fan or Twitter follower for the latest events and news.


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