Sunday, January 18, 2015

5th Annual Apalachicola Oyster Cook-off one for the record books

Bobby Pickels, with Duke Energy and Mayor Van Johnson hold a 
$2K check for firefighter equipment at 5th Annual Oyster Cook-off

The 5th Annual Oyster Cook-off in historic downtown Apalachicola went off without a hitch and when all is said and done will be one for the record books.

A record crowd turned out Saturday amidst a cool, but sunny blue sky to support the event held as a fundraiser to benefit the Apalachicola All-Volunteer Fire Department.  The event got underway with the second year Half Shell Hustle 5K Run/Walk, which saw Lane Williams come in first in the overall men category and Christy Phillips placing first in the overall women.

In the fastest Franklin County male category Simon Hodson placed first along with Genee Heinke in the fastest Franklin County female category. The run/walk also saw Apalachicola City Commissioner Brenda Ash come in third place in her age group.

Judges from L-R: Ron Sewell, Matthew Battaglia and Michael Allen

The crowd enjoyed the mild temperatures and entertainment by Pam Nobles Dance Studio, which included a dance routine by fire fighters along with International recording artist Eric Culberson and his Blues Band who took center stage and wowed the audience. 

Children and adults enjoyed oysters prepared a variety of ways and other related seafood, hamburgers and hot dogs as the three judges comprised of local radio personality Michael Allen from Eastpoint, Ron Sewell, a car dealer from Texas and Matthew Battaglia from the Sardinia coast of Italy sampled each contestant dish to determine a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner for the 5th annual contest. 

The 1st place winner was Team Retsyo headed by John Solomon, President of the Florida Seafood Festival Board of Directors. Taking 2nd was Joel Norred and coming in 3rd was the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce, with Donna Duncan Chamber President and John Solomon Chamber Executive Director. 

Contestant winners with Mayor Van Johnson L-R: Joel Norred 2nd place,
 John Solomon 1st place and Donna Duncan 3rd place

Taking home the People’s Choice Award was the Owl Café, which raised $2,700 towards the cause, followed by the St. George Island Civic Club and Fire Department who raised $1,049 through the sale of funnel cakes.  The Red Pirate raised $770 and a group of entrepreneurial kids from Apalachicola, which included Evie Morgan Price, Bella Price, Carson Davis, Alex Itzkovitz, Maya Itzkovitz, Ella Friedman and Colin Amison sold lemonade to raise $525 for the fire department.  Others who raised funds towards the worthwhile cause included Edy Teach’s $196 and Christine’s Cuisine $75.

The long list of event sponsors include, Irish Kevin Home, Edy Teach’s, Old Stuff Shop, Ron & Canda Sewell, Island Fit SUP, June Dosik, Oystercatcher, Water Street Seafood, Honey Hole, Apalach Outfitters, George Stritikus, Ace Hardware, The Tin Shed, Garlick Environmental, Jeff Ilardi, Mark’s Insurance Agency, Up the Creek Raw Bar, PJ’s Cleaning, Susan Bachrach, Christine Smith, Oyster City Brewing, Owl Café, Collins Vacation Rentals, Inc., Century 21 Collins Reality, Inc., Robinson Real Estate, Buddy Wards & Sons, Red’s Family Store, Seafood Grill, Beverly Hewitt, Hank’s Furniture from Panama City, Roy & Alice Scarborough, Downtown Books, Tapa’s Bar, Bowery Station, Erin Rodriquez, Sanders & Duncan, P.A., Thompson Bassett Team, Dodd Title Company, Café Con Leche, Mike Cates Electric, George & Pam Mahr, Kristen Anderson, Suncoast, Galloway Construction, and Duke Energy.

Apalachicola City Commissioner & Mayor Pro Tem 
Frank Cook on trash patrol 

The Apalachicola Oyster Cook-off was started in 2010 by a group of concerned citizens lead by Marisa Getter, wanting to raise money for the Apalachicola All-Volunteer Fire Department. They saw the department’s need for additional funds to help purchase a new fire truck, improved firefighting equipment and additional training for its volunteers.

So by all accounts, Getter and the other event organizers can count this one as another year of success for the Fire Department and fire protection.