Under a sparkling blue sky Carrabelle and Lanark Village on Saturday hosted celebrations rapidly establishing themselves as community traditions.
Carrabelle’s Franklin County Senior Center hosted their second annual Fall Festival, a celebration of local arts and crafts, featuring a display of paintings and pastels by members of the Carrabelle Artists Association.
Vendors offered jewelry, art photography, floral arrangements and more, while in a side room was a rummage sale of household items, clothing and bric-a -brac. In front of the building were a half-dozen booths featuring the work of local artists.The center’s kitchen offered up specialty hot dogs to please hungry shoppers.
Vendors said the day went well. Jeweler Rod Gasche did a brisk trade and said he began selling items before he was fully set up and open for business.
Suzy Cooper reported the crowd hit early in the morning. “We had people from Tallahassee and the island,” she said.
Organizers attributed the events success to posting on the internet and support from the Tourist Development Council.
Five miles to the east, the Lanark Village Boat Club and the Lanark Village /St. James Volunteer Fire Department collaborated to stage the fifth annual Lanark Village Gumbo Cook-off, the largest so far with seven contestants and about 300 attendees over the course of the day.
A group of intrepid volunteers offered a choice of chicken or seafood gumbo throughout the day. George Briesacker said Dot Bless prepared the tasty potages. The two served up more than 20 gallons of gumbo with the help of volunteers including Bill and Judy Cook of Apalachicola.
In addition to county residents, the cook-off was attended by visitors from as far away as Kansas City and Atlanta.
Once again, the cook-off included a silent auction with generous donations from local merchants and firehouse supporters. The traditional auction netted more than $1,000 for items including a blue blown glass buoy, power tools, boat rides and kayak rentals.
Competing for the Cajun honors this year were Team Daddonna (Carole and Nick Dadonna of Lanark Village); Team Retsyo of Apalachicola, (Randy Kristin and Jamie Souders); Team Stovall of Lanark Village; Team Flounder Island (Fran Edwards and Heather Mapp cooking for the TDC); Richard and Robin Holley, Team Crooked River Grill; Team Roog A Roo (Scott Payne); and the Eastpoint Volunteer Fire Department.
The first place prize of $500 went to Team Stovall. Organizer Mike Rundel described Hugh Stovall, also the volunteer auctioneer this year, as a good ambassador for Lanark’s volunteer fire department. Stovall’s victory won him the right to compete in the World Gumbo Championship Cook-off to be held in New Iberia, La. in October 2014.
Second place went to Team Flounder Island for a traditional Louisiana style stew of seafood and vegetables. Chef Edwards said she opted to tone down the heat on her creation for the competition. The TDC team walked with a check for $250.
Rounding out the winners was Team Daddonna. Carole Daddonna took home a blue ribbon in the cook-off in 2011; this year the check was for $100.
Rundel thanked the boat club for hosting the event to benefit volunteer fire fighters and said he hoped to use the same “beautiful venue” next year. He too said publicity from the TDC helped expand attendance at the cook-off.