When professional chefs and home-based cooks from the Coast compete to make the best gumbo, the big winners are the ones who are there to test the results at this weekend’s Biloxi Seafood Festival.
For 36 years, the festival, presented by the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce, has offered a variety of the seafood that Coast residents love, such as fried fish, shrimp plates, crab cakes and po’boys.
Along with many seafood vendors offering food at the event, Justin Kennedy, of the Parkway Bakery & Tavern, will return this year to create a 200-foot shrimp po-boy. Kennedy will serve it up free to guests at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The highlight of the event is the Sun Herald Gumbo Championship, in which professionals and amateurs compete for Best in Show and the People’s Choice awards. This year, there will be five competing teams in each of the categories.
Rachael Seymour, Biloxi Chamber director, said there is a serious drive to take home the top honors each year.
“The competitive spirit really comes to life as the teams compete for prize money and bragging rights. It’s a great opportunity for attendees to sample a lot of great gumbo,” Seymour said.
The gumbo competition starts at 1 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 to sample each gumbo and cast one vote in the People’s Choice competition. Awards will be presented at 3 p.m.
Music is a large part of the festival, and Back Alley will get things going Saturday at noon with feel-good, country tunes.
Ty Taylor & The Kin Folk keep things rolling at 2 p.m. and Miles Flatt will play at 4 p.m. The Prince tribute band Purple Masquerade will take the festival into the night when they take the stage at 6 p.m.
On Sunday, Black Water Brass will bring their high-energy brand of funk to the festival at noon.
The family-friendly event also includes arts-and-crafts vendors and activities for children on both days. Visitors also will have an opportunity to purchase signed copies of this year’s festival poster, which was created by Long Beach resident Benjamin Rusher.
The festival will take place at the Biloxi Town Green Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5.
Admission is $5 on each day or $10 on Saturday after 4 p.m. There is no free re-entry with admission, but for $15 an all-access pass allows attendees to come and go on both days and also includes tasting and voting privileges at the gumbo competition.
36th Annual Biloxi Seafood Festival
Where: Biloxi Town Green, 710 Beach Blvd., Biloxi
When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Admission: $5 on each day or $10 on Saturday after 4 p.m. There is no free re-entry with admission, but for $15 an all-access pass allows attendees to come and go on both days and also includes tasting and voting privileges at the gumbo competition, which starts at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Sun Herald Gumbo Championship: Admission for the gumbo contest, which starts at 1 p.m. Sunday is $5 to sample each gumbo and cast one vote in the People’s Choice competition. Awards will be presented at 3 p.m. Sunday