Fire department fundraiser strums right along

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 20, 2008

VIDALIA — Though high water forced it to move a few blocks over this year, the annual Vittles and Fiddles festival on the Vidalia Riverfront was a success this year.

“Everything has just gone great,” Vidalia Fire Chief Jack Langston said.

Vittles and Fiddles is a yearly fundraiser for the Vidalia Fire Department.

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Many of those at the festival sat out under the cloudless blue sky, but others shaded themselves with umbrellas as they listened to the bluegrass musicians who took the stage.

Taking a momentary break from the dobro, banjo, guitar, mandolin and upright bass music, Langston announced the winners of this year’s gumbo cook-off, one of the festival’s events.

The first place winner, blind- judged by a group of five judges, was a team sponsored by Delta Bank.

The six-member team just showed up at the festival and cooked team-member Wendy Reese’s recipe, team member Jennifer Banks said.

“We pretty much just chopped up what she told us to chop,” Banks said.

The winning recipe contained, among other things, onion, bell pepper and “a lot of love,” Reese said.

The winner of the people’s choice award — judged by the public in attendance — for the cook-off was Alan Graham.

Graham’s recipe didn’t contain anything special, and it was just a standard gumbo recipe, he said.

“Mama would beat me to death if I didn’t know how to cook gumbo,” Graham said.

The monies raised by the festival go into a training fund for the Vidalia Fire Department, and will help with the construction of the department’s training facility on Logan Sewell Road, which currently has a burn building and a small classroom on site.

In the future, the department hopes to build a confined-space rescue training facility, a drill tower and a vehicle extrication training area, Langston said.