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Hospitality & Tourism

Saint Simons Food & Spirits Festival will showcase Golden Isles’ culinary talent at seven events

Category: Hospitality & Tourism

By Lou Phelps, Brunswick Business Journal

September 19, 2014 – What organizers are terming as a ‘one-of-a-kind’ festival will be held Oct 1 to 5 on St. Simon featuring the food offerings of local chefs to benefit Hospice of the Golden Isles.

Expected to attract thousands of ‘foodies,’ the five days “will tantalize the senses when the third annual Saint Simons Food & Spirits Festival unfolds Oct. 1-5 in Georgia’s Golden Isles,” say organizers.

“The nearly weeklong #TasteSSI celebration showcases the area’s finest food, spirits and artistic talent amid the natural beauty of Georgia’s Golden Isles and is well on its way to becoming one of the South’s most-popular festivals,” they state.

The 2013 Allie Award winner as the Southeast’s “Best Public Festival,” the 2014 Saint Simons Food & Spirits Festival will expose visitors to the finest in Southern cuisine, while providing rare opportunities to interact in person with the chefs and professionals who make it happen.

The festival also raises money and awareness for Hospice of the Golden Isles, and this year features seven events spanning the five-day period.

More than 20 popular chefs and area personalities are scheduled to appear under the direction of master of ceremonies Hugh Acheson.  A six-time James Beard Award nominee (and 2012 winner), Acheson in 2002 was named Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chef” and has been featured in a host of top-tier publications, including Bon Appétit, The New York Times, and Garden & Gun, among others.

Other high-profile participants in the festival lineup include event co-founders Griffin Bufkin and Harrison Sapp, of Southern Soul Barbeque; 20-time PGA TOUR winner and Golden Isles resident Davis Love III; and a full roster of the finest chefs and food enthusiasts from the area.  Scheduled guest appearances include Libbie Summers, Pat Martin, Carey Bringle, Aaron Siegel, Justin & Jonathan Fox, and Matthew Raiford.

For complete festival details and to purchase tickets and ticket packages, visit the festival website. The schedule of main events includes:

- Southern Soul BBQ & Beer Pairing – Presented by Southern Soul Barbeque, Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m., at Southern Soul Barbeque, 2020 Demere Road, St. Simons Island.  Tickets $50.  Pit masters from Southern Soul prepare a gourmet spread paired with craft beer from Georgia's Wild Heaven Brewery.  Mouthwatering menu items include Grilled Beer-Can Quail, Smoked Beef Belly Eggs Benedict with Collard Green Chips, and Maple Pecan French Toast.




- Georgia Crown Distributing Co. and Bulleit Bourbon BBQ Pro-Am – Presented by Sea Island and Southern Soul Barbeque on Oct. 2, 6:00-9:00 p.m., at Rainbow Island, 100 Cloister Drive, Sea Island.  Tickets $95.  Star PGA TOUR professionals Matt Kuchar, Jonathan Byrd, Zach Johnson, Brian Bateman and Hudson Swafford become the amateurs as they compete with celebrity pit masters, including golf legend Davis Love III, to see who makes the cut in this BBQ showdown.  The smokin’ hot evening of bourbon, blues and BBQ includes music by Savannah’s legendary Eric Culberson Band.

- Sip, Taste and Tour Pier Crawl and Sweet Sounds at the Heritage Center – Presented by Elegant Island Living & St. Simons Sweets on Oct. 3, 5:30-10:00 p.m., at A.W. Jones Heritage Center, 610 Beachview Drive, St. Simons Island.  Tickets $30.  Begins with 5:30 check-in at Heritage Center.  Enjoy leisurely stroll through St. Simons Pier Village while stopping to enjoy local cuisine, libations and deals at participating establishments.  Tour concludes with late-evening raffle, dessert creations from St. Simons Sweets, libations from Southern Curves Vodka and live music by rollicking dance band Spike at the Beach.

- Friday Night Festival Feast – Hosted by Halyards Restaurant on Oct. 3, 7:00 p.m., at Halyards Restaurant, 55 Cinema Lane, St Simons Island.  Tickets $200.  The festival’s most-memorable food experience includes a five-course feast, including with hors d’oeuvres and Vixen Vodka cocktails and a seated dinner (complete with wine pairings) prepared by the area’s most-regarded local chefs, along with James Beard Award winner Hugh Acheson.  Trips and other prizes up for bid during auction led by former Brunswick Mayor Bryan Thompson.

- Artisan & Farmers Market on Oct. 4, 11:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., at Gascoigne Bluff, 100 Arthur J. Moore Drive, St. Simons Island.  Free and open to the public.  Celebrate the local artistry of South Georgia under Gascoigne Bluff’s canopy of oaks and Spanish moss.  Juried arts, crafts, farmer stand and artisan-produced culinary items.

- The Grand Oaks Tasting Tour – Presented by Beachview Event Rentals on Oct. 4, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., at Gascoigne Bluff, 100 Arthur J. Moore Drive, St. Simons Island.  Tickets $50. An entire day of family fun features the Artisan & Farmers Market (see above); Southern delicacies, cooking demos, book signings, and live music by TriAge in the Local Tasting Tent (noon-3 p.m.); and hot potions in the Mixology Tent.  Younger guests can be entertained in the Kid Zone, where chaperones oversee kid-friendly activities and Hollaway’s Bakery sweets are available.

- Festival “Oyster Fest” at Coastal Kitchen – Sponsored by Little St Simons Island Resort, hosted by Coastal Kitchen on Oct. 4, 7:00 p.m., at Coastal Kitchen, 102 Marina Drive, St. Simons Island.  Tickets $25. Enjoy the epitome of coastal treats, oysters, while taking in the Golden Isles’ beautiful marshes and listening to an all-star jam by Southeast Georgia’s finest musicians, including Country Music Award nominee Levi Lowrey.

- SPIRITual Sunday Brunch – Presented by Echo and hosted by The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on Oct. 5, 12:30-3:30 p.m., at The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, 201 Arnold Road, St. Simons Island.  Tickets $75. Festival finale is a seated brunch of delightful menu items and uniquely Southern libations (such as Charleston Bloody Marys and Fruitland Augusta Peach Bellinis) from the new Echo restaurant inside the recently renovated King and Prince Resort.  The soulful singers of Defunk Yo Soul will help lift spirits at the beautiful oceanfront property.



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