Despite the threat of rain that altered the timetable, Apalachicola’s ninth annual Oyster Cookoff proved to be another success.

Organizer Marisa Getter said she expected the annual fundraiser for the Apalachicola Volunteer Fire Department to bring in about the same amount of money as last year. “We’re still collecting from a few remaining auction items and gathering outstanding invoices,” she said.

Because dark skies loomed overhead, organizers ended up moving the judging up an hour. “I’m glad we did because the weather held just long enough,” Getter said. “We never had a chance to present People’s Choice and other stuff because of the chaos at the end.

Judging was handled by the team from the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce, which has taken the top prize in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Judges John Solomon, Donna Duncan and Samantha Gilbert decided the top prize should go to Half Shell Docksides for their oyster stew. The team was competing for the first time.

Second place went to Valerie Covington and Rita Wood, for their dish of bacon-wrapped oysters named “Land and Sea.”

The third place trophy went to the Batty Sisters team of Rebecca Nelson and Chris Verlinde, for their oyster egg roll with Thai sauce.

Also competing were the teams of Levi Stanley and Catherine Korfanty, Bill and Anne Avery, and the Owl Café.

Thanks to all my competitors, they really had a great time and they raised a lot of money collectively,” said Getter.

A host of volunteers were busy shucking and serving all morning and into the mid-afternoon, offering freshly shucked oysters from Texas as well shrimp and oysters cooked up several different ways.

The annual event, held over Martin Luther King Day weekend, opened Friday with a reception at the Apalachicola Center for History, Culture and the Arts, which gave people a chance to look at the items in the silent auction. The event continued Saturday morning with a 5K run boasting of more than 100 participants (See sports, page A9).

The entertainment continued at Riverfront Park with dancers ranging in age from 18 months old to teenagers from the Pam Nobles Dance Studio in downtown Apalachicola. The firefighters also took over the stage with their dance routine, and throughout the day, the John Sutton Band performed.