Taste Testing

Published 1:43 pm Wednesday, August 24, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
Hundreds of amateur food connoisseurs attended Saturday night's second annual Taste of the South food festival at Heritage Park despite unbearably hot conditions.
Fortunately for those on hand at the Leadership Atmore Class of 2004 sponsored event there was plenty of cold soft drinks and ice cream to help keep them cool while sampling a variety of foods.
"I thought it was a huge success," Class President Sharon Smith said. "I was very, very pleased with the turnout despite the weather being too hot. Our class as a whole was in awe of the good turnout."
David's Catfish won bragging rights as this year's winner of the Best Taste of the South award. Smith said she was delighted to see David's win the title.
"I think David's deserved it very much," she said. "They have been in Atmore a really long time and have really great food. They worked hard and deserved it, they are a huge asset to our community."
David's served shrimp and pineapple kabobs, as well as gumbo, to its taste testers.
This year Leadership Atmore decided to add two additional categories, which included best dessert and best decorated booth.
The Betty Boop's Scoops booth, sponsored by the Atmore Women's Club, took home top honors in both categories. The group's booth was decorated with pinks and featured 1930's cartoon character Betty Boop. They served several different flavors of homemade ice cream.
"I think having the extra awards gave the people that really worked hard on their decorations a chance to be recognized and recognized those that decided to serve deserts," Smith said.
Smith said she was pleased with all the food served and thought there were several worthy winners.
"I had a little taste of everybody's food," she said. "It was all good, I wish everybody could have won. I wasn't disappointed at all, they all did a good job."
Twelve vendors participated in the inaugural Taste of the South held last year. Smith said she was pleased with the slight increase in participation this year, but believes the future of the event looks even brighter.
"We had a lot of vendors in the area that suffered hurricane damage and couldn't attend for other reasons that said they wanted to be here next year, so I believe next year will be even bigger," Smith said. "The hurricane hurt us a little this year."
The vendors that attended this year included, David's Catfish, The Atmore Rotary Club, Betty Boop's Scoops, Walt's (Butler) Oysters, Buster's, Houston McGhee's Indian fried bread, Creek Family Restaurant, the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce, Trinity Episcopal, Gold's Barbecue, Snack Shack, Annie's Community Cup and Pepsi of Atmore.
In addition to the members of the Leadership Atmore Class of 2004 that helped organize the event, Smith said there were several others that helped make this year's Taste of the South a success.
"I definitely want to thank Mayor Howard Shell; Pepsi and Webb Nall for all the signs, banners and the use of some tents; Johnson Ford for the use of a tent; Earl Bryant, who helped us with our electrical needs, and of course all the vendors that participated this year, we really appreciate them and hope that they will participate next year," Smith said. "I also want to thank everyone who sang and entertained the crowd during the event especially the Diamondback Band for providing the sound system."
Providing entertainment at this year's Taste of the South included, Reed Adams, Haley Murph, Chuck Stevens, Lana Langford, Rose Gilley &Southern Heritage, The Diamondback Band, Michael Murph and Terry Owens.
Smith said the third annual Taste of the South will be held next year, but may change up a bit.
"We'll be there next year," she said. "We're trying to throw around some ideas to change it to spring or late September. That was the only complaint I had at the festival was that it was just too hot."
All proceeds from the event will be donated the Atmore Chamber of Commerce.
"They are very, very appreciative of what we're doing and they participated as well selling gumbo."
As of press time financial results had not been completed.

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