Friday, September 4, 2009

4th Annual “Shrimp & Grits: The Wild Georgia Shrimp Festival” to Kick Off Sept. 18

What was once a simple food pairing deeply rooted in the South, Shrimp & Grits has become a menu-must for exclusive restaurants across the country. The only event in the country dedicated to this quintessential Southern dish kicks off Sept 18: “Shrimp & Grits: The Wild Georgia Shrimp Festival.”

Set in the Jekyll Island Club Hotel’s landmark historic district, the popular festival boasts amateur and professional cooking competitions, shrimp boat excursions, shrimp eating contests, cooking demonstrations, races, entertainment, and much more.

"The Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival is a great time to enjoy the beauty of Jekyll Island while dining on delicious coastal cuisine caught right off the Georgia coast," said Beth Burnsed, Director of Special Events for Jekyll Island. "We began the Shrimp & Grits Festival as a way to showcase Jekyll Island and Wild Georgia Shrimp. As more and more restaurants began serving shrimp & grits, we realized that we were at the forefront of a growing trend. We are thrilled to host such a prominent and highly anticipated signature event.”

In celebration, Sept. has been declared “Wild Georgia Shrimp Month” on Jekyll Island and the neighboring Golden Isles, and some of the South’s finest professional and amateur chefs will be competing for the coveted title of “Best Shrimp & Grits” recipes in the country. “Y’all Come!”

Friday, September 18th

$3 Shrimp Sale Night
Set amid Jekyll Island’s picturesque Jekyll Island Club National Landmark Historic District, the festival will kick off on Friday at 5:30 p.m. with a “$3 Shrimp Sample Night.” For only $3 per person participants will have the opportunity to taste recipes from each of the vendors.

Saturday, September 19th

Amateur Cooking Competition

The Amateur Cooking Competition event will offer mouth-watering tasting opportunities of the ten shrimp & grits dishes prepared by aspiring and self-taught cooks throughout the region. Guests can sign-up to be part of the esteemed “Consumer Choice Panel” to taste the dishes and select the winners for a fee of $25.00 per person. The tasting begins at 1:15 p.m. Saturday with music and entertainment provided by the popular “Big Dawg and Paul Show.” Awards will be presented at 2:30 pm.

Chef Robert Rulko Cooking Demonstration

Chef Robert Rulko, Winn-Dixie's Corporate Chef, will present a live cooking demonstration Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Chef Rulko is well-known throughout the entire Southeast, and has worked in kitchens throughout Europe, the Orient and Caribbean. He also had the honor of assisting the White House pastry chef, to supply edible Christmas ornaments for the former President and Mrs. Clinton’s personal Christmas tree.

Shrimp Eating Contests:

Are you a shrimp lover who boasts to out-eat everyone you know? Adults and kids are invited to sign up for one of several free shrimp eating contests going on throughout the weekend. Space is limited for each contest, and interested participants should stop by the Information Tent at the festival to sign up for a contest. Saturday’s contests 1:00 p.m. and
4:00 p.m.

Sunday, September 20th

Professional Cooking Competition

The professional cooking competition will be held on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. with music and entertainment provided for the second time by the “Big Dawg and Paul Show.” Throughout the day, visitors will have the opportunity to purchase delicious shrimp & grits dishes from outstanding local restaurants and vendors, and winners of the Professional Cooking Competition will be named by an esteemed panel of judges at 3:00 p.m.

Chef Joe Randall Cooking Demonstration

Chef Joe Randall, of Joe Randall’s Savannah Cooking School, will host a live cooking demonstration on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Joe Randall is a forty-three year veteran of all things food! He is noted for his capacity to teach, guide and advise others in the practical aspects of food.

Shrimp Eating Contest:

If visitors didn’t have a chance to participate in the free Shrimp Eating contest on Saturday, they have another chance on Sunday. Again, space is limited and they can sign up at the Festival Information Tent. Contests will be held on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Ongoing Weekend Activities:

Free Live Entertainment:

Throughout the weekend the Jekyll Island Club National Landmark Historic District will ring with the musical talents of many favorite local bands, including Straight No Chaser, Smokin’ Section, OSKAR Rockhammer, Stringrays, Randall Bramblett Band, and Three of Us.

Shrimp & Grits 3 Race Challenge:

On Saturday and Sunday, a 3 Race Challenge will take place across three different terrains on Jekyll Island. It will begin with the “Shrimper's 4-mile Beach Course” jog starting at the Jekyll Island Beachdeck on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. The next event is “Show Yer Grit” run at the Jekyll Island Great Dunes Golf Course on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. The Race Challenges finishes up with the “Short Flight to Festival 1 Mile” sprint on Sunday at 2:00 pm. Racers will end at the Festival in time to eat! Pre-registration is $15, $45 for the series, and $20 per race on the day of the event.

Popcorn Shrimp Gold Days at the Jekyll Island Golf Course:

Friday through Sunday children 14 and younger play for FREE on any of Jekyll Island's 18-hole golf courses when playing with a paying adult. Children's scorecards can be entered in a drawing for 2 lbs of Wild Georgia Shrimp.

Boating Excursions:
It wouldn’t be a Shrimp Festival without the opportunity to go boating! Throughout the weekend, several opportunities are available:

Trawling Excursion: Take a trip into the coastal marshlands and rivers for a trawling excursion. The captain and crew give a complete presentation of the species caught and give the passengers a chance to touch and feel what is caught. These eco tours depart from the Jekyll Island Wharf, and the cost is $13 for students 9th grade and below and $18 for students 10th grade and above and adults. For more information about trip times and purchasing tickets, call St. Simons Transit Company 635-3152 or visit:

Dolphin Tour: Guests can also experience a once in a lifetime opportunity by taking a 90 minute dolphin tour through the island’s our calm inland waters. The trips begin at the Jekyll Island Wharf, and the cost is $24 adults, $12 for children 10 and younger. For more information about trip times and purchasing tickets, call St. Simons Transit Company 635-3152 or visit:

Shrimp Boat Excursion: Get on board the Lady Jane, a United States Coast Guard certified 49 passenger steel shrimping vessel recently retired after years of loyal service to the shrimping industry. Each cruise includes two hours of shrimping and an onboard shrimp boil. All shrimp boat excursions depart from Spanky’s Restaurant in Brunswick, located on HWY 17. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the trips will be from 10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. The cost is $39.95 for adults and $25 children 6 and younger. For more information and to purchase tickets call Credle’s Adventures at (912) 265-5711 or visit their website:

Off-Shore Fishing: For a little off-shore fishing during the weekend, hop aboard the 44-foot “Ospo” fishing boat which departs from the Jekyll Island Marina. For more information on cost, times and to purchase tickets, call 270-7474 or visit

Become a Shrimp & Grits Festival VIP!
Guests can experience the ultimate Shrimp & Grits Festival weekend by becoming a VIP guest! The VIP package includes 4 tickets for samples at Friday night’s $3 sample night, a gift certificate for a 1/2 lb of fresh Wild Georgia Shrimp from City Market in Brunswick, GA, a 1 lb
bag of grits from Logan Turnpike Mills, and a commemorative Festival Poster signed by the artist. To purchase your 2009 VIP package for just $35, order it online at

Wild Georgia Shrimp Month For Jekyll and The Golden Isles:
September is Wild Georgia Shrimp Month! Visitors can check out the list of local restaurants participating and order their featured Georgia shrimp dish. For more information about Shrimp & Grits: The Wild Georgia Shrimp & Grits Festival, contact the Jekyll Island Welcome Center at
1-877-4-JEKYLL, or visit


1 lb. Fresh Georgia White shrimp peeled and deveined
1 bundle green onion (diced)
1/2 lb. Andouille sausage or any other sausage you like (spicy)
Flour as needed
White wine to taste
½ squeezed lemon
1 cup Heavy whipping cream
Old Bay seasoning to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Garlic Butter for Sauté
Soften 1 lb. unsalted butter, 6 oz. bacon fat, 2 tbsp. of minced garlic, 1 tbs. paprika each, ½ tsp. chopped thyme, parsley, oregano
Mix all ingredients together and set aside for later use.

Cheese Grits
Follow recipe on package except use less stock. You want the grits to be tight (stiff) use chicken stock instead of water. Add medium sharp cheddar cheese to taste add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside but keep warm.

In sauté pan add garlic butter you probably have enough to do 2 or 3 batches. Add sausage and onions let sauté, then add shrimp, cream, wine and lemon let cook for 3 minutes. Add Old Bay, salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer then sprinkle flour on top and mix in. Continue doing this until right consistency let it simmer a little while longer to cook out flour taste then ready to serve.

Put grits into bowl top with shrimp mixture ready to eat.

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