Valdosta Daily Times

October 20, 2013

Annual Skillet Festival draws thousands

Desiree Murphy
The Valdosta Daily Times

QUITMAN — The Third Annual Skillet Festival kicked off Saturday morning at the Brooks County Courthouse Square.

Destination Brooks, the Quitman-Brooks County Tourism Project, is the organization that makes the Skillet Festival an annual success, along with the help of volunteers and local vendors. It seems that almost every resident of Brooks County attended this festival as cars lined every street near the courthouse square.

Lauren Basford, Destination Brooks president, explained the purpose of this festival is to highlight local agriculture, Southern cuisine, and Brooks County.

"We had 4,000 people last year,” says Basford. “We definitely broke that this year.”

She estimated somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 people were present.  Rows of vendors packed the area to sell their handmade, homegrown, or antique wares. Face painters, kettle corn, and even a bit of living history with the 61st Ga. Infantry Co. were among the booths found at the festival. Mr. John's Lawn Mower Train allowed small children some additional festival fun. Susan Radford and Edna McElroy also had a pumpkin patch at the event where they sold pumpkins to help raise money for the local museum.

Various events occurred throughout the day like the Cast Iron 5K and a dog show. Nikki Bradley, a Quitman city councilwoman, coordinated another local favorite: the skillet toss. After Brooks County broke a Guinness World Record Thursday night by tossing 266 cast-iron skillets simultaneously, everyone was ready to show their abilities at the festival. Skillets thrown at the festival were filmed and measured for distance. Contestants with the farthest distance stood to earn individual world records.

Another fan favorite was the Cast-Iron Chef cooking competition. With various celebrity judges, a Georgia team and Florida team of chefs matched culinary abilities via cast-iron skillets. Chefs were only given one burner and a box of mystery ingredients, which showcased ingredients from Brooks County and the surrounding area. A competition for charity, winnings from this event will be donated to Second Harvest food bank.