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Eighteen teams will don their best costumes and face off in this year’s cookoff themed “The Dark Secrets of the Bayou” offering up their rendition of gumbo for taste testing. Those attending will have the opportunity to vote to award their favorite teams for the People’s Choice Award for Gumbo as well as Best Cajun Costume. The event will also include door prizes and a dance with music by the EZ Street Band.
Cooking for a Cause
The event was started in 1998 as a fun and unique way to help raise funds for the API’s scholarship fund and local and surrounding community outreach programs. Last year, the Dickinson Chapter awarded $49,000 in scholarships thanks to this and other fundraising efforts, including the golf tournament held in August of each year.
“We definitely encourage anyone who is looking to have a little fun and give back to the community and to the area you to attend,” said board member Kristy Baumgartner.
Chilly Inception, Hot Reception
The event, which was modeled after the World Champion Gumbo Cookoff held in New Iberia, Louisiana each year, was first held in February 28, 1998. Unlike that cookoff in New Iberia where the average temperature in February is a comfortable 70 degrees, Dickinson’s inaugural event was held during a five-day blizzard. With no travel advised even in town, the chapter wasn’t sure how its first turnout would be.
“We thought we would have so much gumbo to eat,” remembers Terri Thiel, executive director for the Dickinson Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. “But, it was one wild party with the whole town coming since they had cabin fever from being held hostage inside for so long!”
The first year’s strong reception set the event up for success as following years brought in teams with team members coming from Louisiana, Colorado, Montana and North Dakota to try their luck at the 1st place prize.
Tickets for the event are $10. The event is being held at the Quality Inn and Suites with preparation and cooking by teams beginning at 11 a.m. The public is welcome to view the preparations early in the day and the taste testing begins at 6:30 p.m. and the dance and music by EZ Street beginning at 8:30 p.m.