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Get ready to fill up on the area’s best gumbo

It’s time to pull out the pots and mix it up for the 9th annual Carnaval de Mardi Gras Gumbo Cook-Off.

Sponsored by the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation, the ninth installment of the family-friendly event will be held from Saturday, Feb. 22 from 5-8 p.m. on Crawford Street outside the Southern Cultural Heritage Center.

The event will follow the annual Mardi Gras parade, which will be held along Washington Street.

Nancy Bell, executive director of the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation, said she is excited about the annual event.

“We have some great teams ready to compete,” Bell said.

For those who have yet to sign up, it’s not too late to jump into the competition, she said, adding the deadline to register is Thursday, Feb. 20 at noon.

Entry fees submitted before Feb. 14 are $50, while those registering after Feb. 14 will be charged $75.

The initial entry fee includes four team members. The cost for additional team members is $5 with a limit of six.

Bell said competitors may prepare either seafood or non-seafood gumbo and will need to provide no less than five gallons of gumbo for judging and public tasting and have a minimum of two gallons of rice.

Gumbo must be cooked on-site, she said, however, rice can be prepared ahead of time.

Each team will be provided a 10-by-10-foot site. Cookers are responsible for providing tables, chairs, a pop-up tent or tarp structure, cookstove (propane), cooking supplies, ingredients, extension cords and trash bags.

No electricity will be provided, Bell said, but there will be access to one 110-volt outlet at each site.

“You are encouraged to decorate your table, tent and cooking area,” Bell said, adding first, second and third-place awards will be given out to the best-decorated site.

A people’s choice award will be given out to teams in each gumbo category as well as first, second and third-place awards.

“First place in each gumbo category will be awarded $300 and best decorated wins a gift card and prize,” Bell said.

Judging will begin at 3:45 p.m. and the awards will be presented at 7:30 p.m.

Gumbo will be judged based on flavor, aroma, consistency, appearance and texture.

In addition to the cook-off, the Carnaval de Mardi Gras Gumbo Cook-Off will also include entertainment by Legal Tender.

“We are delighted to have the band performing for the event again,” she said.

There will also be a beer booth, jump houses for children and other carnival games for prizes. And for those who don’t like gumbo, hot dogs, popcorn, cookies, king cake and bread pudding will be available for sale.

Admission to the event is $10 and includes a gumbo bowl and $5 for children, which covers all activities.

Additional tickets can be purchased for drinks and concessions.

All proceeds from the Carnaval de Mardi Gras Gumbo Cook-Off will benefit the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation.

For more information or a complete listing of rules, visit www.facebook.com/vicksburg.mardi.gras.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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