A huge crowd turned out at Heritage Park for this year's Taste of the South event,

Event even tastier this year

Published 10:20pm Thursday, September 20, 2012

The ninth annual installment of Taste of the South brought a huge crowd to Atmore’s Heritage Park Thursday night and featured a wide array of food, drinks and desserts, including veteran ‘Taste’ vendors, along with some newcomers.

Event coordinator Sharon Smith said she was extremely pleased with this year’s large turnout.

“I think it went very well,” Smith said. “I think this is probably the biggest one we’ve had in a few years. I was very, very pleased and I was overwhelmed by the attendance from the community. It’s safe to say it was the biggest one in quite a while.”

Smith said the total amount of money raised by Thursday’s contest will likely not be tallied for another week, but added that, as always, all proceeds will go to benefit the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce, which coordinates the Leadership Atmore Program that spawned Taste of the South. Smith, president of the 2004 leadership class, began the annual event, along side her classmates, as the group’s service project for that year.

Almost a decade later, the food festival has become a staple in town and Smith said she is very appreciative to all of the people who pitch in to make the event a reality each year.

“I have to say a special thanks to Mayor Howard Shell and the City of Atmore for making the park look so fabulous each year,” Smith said.
Shell was formally acknowledged during this year’s event with a special certificate of appreciation.

“We presented Mayor Shell with a certificate of thanks for all of his years of service,” Smith said. “Every year we tell him what we want to do and he’s always been so supportive of us.”

Smith also said a special thanks was in order for Webb Nall and Pepsi-Cola bottling Co. for supplying banners; Earl Bryant and Tri-Co Electric for providing electrical service; Sheryl Vickery, Shelly Williams and the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce for “allowing us to continue the tradition”; Ross Terry and the YMCA and Leadership Atmore alumni for their help in organizing and carrying out the event.

“ I also want to say a special thanks to all of the vendors,” Smith said. “My highest gratitude goes out to them for taking the time out of their busy work schedules to come out and be a part of Taste of the South. They are the ones that make the whole thing work.”

Smith said she was also grateful for musical guest Abby Akins, who performed acoustic renditions of several numbers during the event.

“We’re just so blessed to have Abby,” she said. “She did such a good job. She’s just such a talented young lady.”

Smith said she was also happy to have some familiar faces in the vendor booths, such as nine-year participants David’s Catfish House and the chamber of commerce, as well as some new faces like Wind Creek Casino and Hotel.

Wind Creek made quite a first impression at this year’s event, taking home both the award for best-decorated booth for their plantation-themed serving area and the coveted Best Taste of the South award for their shrimp and grits dish. United Bank took home the best dessert award for the second year in a row for their flower pot cupcakes.

Vendors participating in this year’s event included: David’s Catfish House, the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce, United Bank, Atmore News, St. Robert’s Bellarmine Catholic Church, First National Bank and Trust, Wind Creek Casino and Hotel, Atmore/PCI Animal Shelter, Stephanie Walker, Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co., Concerned Citizens of Atmore and Acapulco Mexican Restaurant.

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