Inaugural Gumbo Fest counters cold, wet weather with hot, steamy gumbo

Published: Nov. 19, 2022 at 10:14 PM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Saturday, Gulfport held it’s first ever Gumbo Fest at Centennial Plaza. Just like a good roux, a good time was had despite some inclement weather.

So what do you do when it starts raining during your first ever event? You eat up all the gumbo at Gumbo Fest and take the party inside. Before it got soggy the gumbo was hot and steamy - and also in high demand.

“It was cold this morning, but that didn’t stop folks from coming out,” said Gulfport mayor Billy Hewes. “As a matter of fact. there were so many people here we ran out of gumbo at many of the vendor tents, and that timed out perfectly.”

“The love is still in the food, and you’re gonna taste it anyway,” said Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar owner Jacob Harper. “You’re gonna taste it either way.”

Before the roux ran out, the gang with Felix’s got the taste buds tantalized for folks.

“We’ve got great roux right here...” said Harper. “...we’ve got a Louisiana profile, we put some Tasso in it, to give it a little bit of a kick. It’s got shrimp, crab, oysters. Y’all missed it if you didn’t come out.”

The best part about a pot of gumbo? Everything but the kitchen sink can be thrown in. It’s all about improvisation - which is what the day was all about once the rain came.

“It celebrates a heritage, and for an inaugural event, it was packed out. The rains ran everyone inside,” said Mayor Hewes.

That’s where the hardware came out. Gulfport won the Mayor’s Cup while Gumbo Bears was served the People’s Choice Award.

“It’s been a great turnout. The mayor, everyone has put in so much hard work in this event.” said Harper. “We’re ecstatic to be part of it to make some great food with even better people.”

Main Street Association partnered with the city, Mitchell Distribution and Chandeleur Island Brewing Company to put on the event.

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