Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Stew Stars in Diverse Festival; Organizers of Brunswick's Stewbilee Are Expecting Dozens of Meaty Entries

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Stew Stars in Diverse Festival; Organizers of Brunswick's Stewbilee Are Expecting Dozens of Meaty Entries

Article excerpt

Byline: TERRY DICKSON

BRUNSWICK - It's not exactly the miracle of the loaves and fishes, but the multitudes are expected to eat at Saturday's Stewbilee.

More than 50 pots of stew will be served up to judges and hungry diners between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the Mary Ross Waterfront Park downtown in the annual cooking contest.

"Last year we had 52 entries and I suspect we'll exceed that," said Ron Adams, a member of the Brunswick Kiwanis Club, which sponsors the event.

The festival for cooking and tasting the meaty dish began decades ago under other organizers and continued in fits and starts until it really caught on with the Kiwanis Club as a fund-raiser for the Boys and Girls Club of Glynn Inc. Some other charities were invited to join and now stage their own events, a 5,000-meter road race, a March of Dimes walk, a Pooch Parade and a daylong auto show. The festival will end with a Blues Traveler concert at 6 p.m.

When the other events were added last year, the festival became the Brunswick Rockin' Stewbilee.

Brunswick and Brunswick County, Va., both claim to be the birthplace of Brunswick stew. Cooks from both have gone on the road to the other's contest, but no Virginia cooks are entered in Brunswick's contest this year, Adams said.

"They've never won," he said of the Virginia cooks, "and it's a long way to travel."

There are similarities in the dishes, but chicken is the only meat in the Virginia recipe. The Georgia version has chicken, pork and sometimes beef. Both usually have beans, potatoes and tomatoes, and both are simmered for hours.

Regardless of where it began, the first Brunswick stew was likely cooked out of necessity and became a modern art, Adams said.

Asked why the festival has grown so rapidly from its slow start, Adams said it's the prettiest part of the year in Coastal Georgia and it's a chance to sample a lot of great stews. …

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