Quinten PlummerThe Valdosta Daily Times
VALDOSTA — Citizens from all over South Georgia and North Florida immersed themselves in a smorgasbord of South Georgia arts and culture during The Quitman & Brooks County Tourism Project’s Skillet Festival Saturday at the Brooks County Courthouse square, now in its second year.
Roughly 1,400 people attended the day-long event, according to law enforcement estimates. Uses for skillets and cast-iron cookware were virtually exhausted as vendors and attractions featured everything from cookbooks and cook-offs to keepsakes and skillet grill plates.
About 90 vendors took part in the festival, according to assistant director Lauren Basford of the Brooks County Development Authority. She and the tourism staff were elated about the crowd size and the precision of the event’s execution.
“It’s probably double the size of last year,” said Basford. “We have vendors who have been selling out of products, and that’s always a good sign.”
Vendor James Horton, owner of Wiregrass Restaurant and Bar, said his line was long and stagnant at times, just as it was last year, but people were patiently waiting for a chance to try some of his restaurant’s slow-cooked delicacies.
“We’ve had a long line all day and of course we’re very happy about that,” said Horton. “We’re cooking over an open fire using skillets, dutch ovens and the big grill. We’re not using any electricity. We’re cooking over coal and wood chips.”
The enthusiasm was viral for what Basford calls the county’s “signature event.” Ann Seay said she regretted missing out on the event last year, as she was all smiles trying to plot a course through the packed square.
“This is my first time here,” said Ann Seay. “Everyone says that it was an exceptional event last year, so I made sure I came out this year.”