VALDOSTA — It first began as a way to spotlight local agriculture; and now, it acts as a vessel to unite the community.
The Eighth Annual Skillet Festival will be hosted by the Brooks County Chamber of Commerce 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Brooks County Courthouse Lawn, 100 E. Screven St.
To kickoff the event, there will be a Cast Iron 5K Run/Walk beginning 8 a.m. Registration is $20 until Friday, Oct. 19, and will increase to $25 Saturday.
Medals will be given to the top male and female in each age division, overall male and female and masters male and female.
Proceeds will benefit the Boys and Girls Club, and registration can be completed on runsignup.com.
The Skillet Festival is a food fair, artisan craft show and vintage market, said Kelly Hanks, festival director and chamber executive director.
“We’re sort of proud of it here in Brooks County,” she said. “We work really, really hard throughout the year to get some special vendors to attend.”
Hanks said the vendors at Skillet are one-of-a-kind, not attending any other festivals but Skillet.
There will be vendors from three states this year. Hanks said guests come from areas outside of Brooks County, including North Florida.
“People come in to visit their families and stay overnight and go to the Skillet Festival,” she said. “People come from hours away to attend, and we have a really good reach for our vendors.”
A staple in the festival is the skillet toss where competitors toss skillets to get them closest to a stake.
Hanks said the event has gained a Guinness World Record title for most skillets simultaneously tossed.
The toss has its first title sponsor this year, Next Era Energy Resources, and it will also include children age divisions.
There will be a petting zoo, quilt show, face painting, games, dog show and performances from local dance groups such as SweetE’s and Latoya’s School of Dance.
Free parking will be available at the First Baptist Church, 509 W. Screven St. A free shuttle service will be provided by the Brooks County High School FFA to transport guests to Skillet.
No parking is allowed around the Courthouse Square block, according to organizers. Handicap parking by permit only is available at the Quitman Church of Christ, 111 S. Stevens St.
Visit skilletfest.com, or search for Brooks County Skillet Festival on Facebook and Pinterest for more information. The Twitter and Instagram handles are @bcskilletfest.
Amanda Usher is a reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times. She can be contacted at 229-244-3400 ext.1274.