Saint Simons Food & Spirits Festival

At Gascoigne Bluff

By Hope S. Philbrick

Southern cuisine is revered. How trendy it is becomes clear while sitting in some random restaurant in Illinois, the owner brags about how creative the chef is and that all produce is sourced from local farms, and then—to show off his Illinois restaurant—brings out a plate of fried green tomatoes. And then some shrimp and grits. And then some pork belly.

Yep, Southern cuisine rocks.

Know where it’s really great? IN the South.

If I’ve learned anything living in Georgia 16 years, it’s that Southerners are a food-centric people.

While casual conversations in the Midwest (yes, including Illinois) often focus on the lawn—as in how green or brown the grass in one’s yard is this summer compared to last, how often one must mow, and other fascinating tidbits like invasive weeds—Southerners chat about food. We consume food and it consumes us: We discuss where to get it, what’s in season, how to best cook it, what ingredient is best, what culinary tips we did and did not learn from our mothers, and what is being served at the next meal. Southerners often discuss what to eat for lunch while eating breakfast.

And so it may come as no surprise to discover that food festivals abound across the South. Some food festivals have endured for decades, new ones crop up routinely. There is simply no reason not to celebrate Southern food.

The Saint Simons Food & Sprits Festival was launched in 2012 and has its second annual run October 1 through 6, 2013.

The Saint Simons Food & Spirits Festival celebrates the culinary culture of Georgia’s Golden Isles while raising dollars and awareness for Hospice of the Golden Isles. The event features local chefs and restaurants, celebrity chefs, culinary personalities, mixologists, food and beverage vendors and musicians from the surrounding Southeast region. Guests have ample opportunity to taste food and drink, learn techniques from cooking demonstrations, and shop local produce, culinary creations and juried arts and crafts.

We look forward to enjoying this festival—and consuming, talking and learning about food.

See you there!

Event Lineup…
  • Pier Village Sip, Taste and Tour
  • First Bite Kick
  • Southern Soul Barbeque Alfresco Dinner (aka: Bird and Beer Benefit)
  • Halyards and Tramici Festival Specials
  • Maker’s Mark BBQ Pro-Am
  • Friday Night Festival Feast
  • Dinner and a Movie
  • The Market
  • Local Flavors Tasting Tent
  • Mixology Tent — 21 Plus Salute! Entrance to this tent is restricted to folks age 21+
  • Shrimp Net
  • Spiritual Sunday Brunch
  • Educational seminars include “A study in Shrimp,” “Traversing the Whiskey River; Bourbon Rye and American Whisky,” “Cocktail U” and more

…and more

Odds of Encountering Children: Varies by event. For the best odds, head to the Mixology Tent. The public relations representative also says, “A great option for those wanting to celebrate without being around children is a VIP Riverside pass. This pass allows for access to the Tasting Tent, Mixology Tent, culinary stages and a reserved VIP tent with top shelf alcohol options, food selections and televisions with game scores.” Note that a children’s area called the Shrimp Net is new to Saturday’s line-up this year; it will offer a variety of kids’ activities, thus we anticipate that the majority of children will be there.

More Information…

The inaugural festival received the Atlanta-based Allie Award for “2012 Best Public Fair or Festival.”

For the complete festival line-up or to purchase event tickets ($25-$200, some events free) and packages ($300-$1,500), visit

HopeP_144Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. She became a freelance writer and editor because she believes that work and fun should not be mutually exclusive. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.

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