Guest Blog By: Terry Dugas, Former Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce Public Relations & Marketing Manager
Think you know everything about the World Championship Gumbo Cookoff? What about why it was formed, or what it takes to make it in the festival business? The Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce's Public Relations & Marketing manager, Terry Dugas, gave us and our readers an insight into the yearly cookoff and what goes into planning such a large event and how that translates to make it successful. Read on to discover Iberia Parish's world of gumbo!
1) Why was the World Championship Gumbo Cookoff formed?
Gumbo was formed primarily as a fundraiser for the Chamber of Commerce, to pay off the mortgage of the building on Main Street, as well as an opportunity for locals to display their gumbo cooking skills in a local competition of a regional favorite dish.
2) What can visitors expect when they attend?
When visitors attend our event they experience a true Cajun good time with lots of delicious food, live music by talented bands and plenty of opportunities to meet local business owners, politicians, and other neighbors.
3) What is something people may not realize about this cookoff compared to others?
With more than 70 teams participating year-to-year, the World Championship Gumbo Cookoff is not only the largest local event in the parish, but the largest gumbo cookoff in the world. We are also the only gumbo cookoff sponsored by the greatest peppersauce in the world, TABASCO®!
4) What do you contribute the cookoff's success to?
The gumbo cookoff wouldn't be possible without our legacy sponsor TABASCO®, as well as our media sponsors Louisiana Life, Fox 15 and Cox Communications. We also couldn’t make this event happen without support from the Iberia Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau, Iberia Medical Center, the Grow Louisiana Coalition and Musson Patout Automotive. Our Gumbo Committee, the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce Board and a host of local volunteers ensure that every year the event goes off without a hitch. I know I speak for the entire staff at the Chamber when I say how grateful we are for all of the investment the Iberia Parish community puts into Gumbo weekend.
5) How does the Chamber hope to see the festival grow in the future?
With the economy not as strong currently, we thought that our event would be smaller for the foreseeable future, but this has proven to not be the case. We have more interest in participation than ever before and we hope that this continues!
6) Who's performing this year?
Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band, Two in the Chamber, Jaryd Lane, Miles Flatt, Geno Delafose & Frech Rockin Boogie, Jamie Bergeron & the Kickin Cajuns.
7) What is your personal favorite kind of gumbo?
I am a traditionalist. Chicken and sausage has always been my favorite. I also don’t mind shrimp and crab.
8) What’s your best gumbo cookoff memory?
My favorite memory from last year was the smell of all the rouxs being cooked early on Sunday morning. I loved seeing everyone with these big hot grey pots stirring and adding ingredients. It made me so happy and made me feel very proud to be from Acadiana, the best region in the world for gumbo.
Visit the festival website for the most recent news and for schedule information.