Mike Sams, of Apalachicola, holds up his masterpiece “Safety First,” featuring a life preserver containing beer and oysters, that he created at the Jan. 4 paint party, alongside his wife Connie. “I’m hoping it will bring in at least $150,” he said. “I’m shooting for the stars.” [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]
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Savor some oysters at Saturday’s cook-off

It’s been 14 years since a fire in the historic district of Apalachicola completely burned down a vintage century-old home, a tragedy that spared anyone injury but one compounded by glaring deficiencies in the firefighting equipment the city’s volunteer fire department had to rely on.

This Saturday, at an event sure to attract a vintage off-season crowd to Apalachicola’s Riverfront Park, the annual fundraising event, the Apalachicola Oyster Cook-off that grew out of the tragedy will mark its 14th year.

The event has evolved since 2010; there is no longer a Friday night program and a COVID-19 year had to be skipped.

But the same core group of devoted volunteers who make up the fire department’s auxiliary that oversees the event are still at it – Marisa Getter, Carrie Jones, Shelley Shepard, Genee Meleski, Joe Taylor, as well as the newest additions, firefighter and first responder Bruce Hoffman and his wife Marti.

Noble Davidson, of Apalachicola, dries off his wife Danielle’s painting that she created at the Jan. 4 paint party, and which will be auctioned off Saturday at the oyster cookoff. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

Shepard will once again handle the Half Shell Hustle 5K Run/Walk on Saturday morning at Riverfront Park, with registration beginning at 7 a.m., and the starter’s pistol going off at 8 a.m. A typical year has seen well over 100 runners taking part, with each getting a coveted t-shirt and the winners in the respective categories each a medal.

The event gets underway at noon, with the big fundraising affair, the serving of fried shrimp and oysters, and baked and raw oysters, all handled by volunteers under a giant tent.

They’ll be music from the John Sutton Band, and dancing by the firefighters themselves, and kids activities, and there will be of course the famed cookoff competition, with as many as a dozen contestants vying for the tastiest oyster dish. The Batty Sisters, Ted Okilichany and Bill and Anne Avery, who finished one, two, three last year may well be back to defend their rankings before the discerning taste buds of a three-judge panel.

The contestants will each be cooking with local oysters, from anywhere from Alligator Point to Cedar Key. But since Apalachicola Bay remains closed, the oysters served up to the hungry crowd will likely be from Louisiana, Texas, Virginia or Maryland. 

Alicia Bruno, in front, and Mandi Singer, in back, both created artwork at the Jan. 4 paint party for the oyster cook-off. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

The crowd will be able to bid on a wealth of items at the silent auction all day long. There’ll be donated items from shops and artists and craftsmen alike, as well as the artwork created last week at a well-attended paint party at the Apalachicola Center for History, Culture and the Arts.

All told, the event should raise at least $50,000 in much needed funds for the fire department, so come on out and help boost that total while having a fantastic time.

For more info on the cookoff, visit www.oystercookoff.com/

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

One Comment

  1. Who won the basketball game Saturday night between Port St Joe And Apalachicola Florida in Port St Joe Granville Croom Jr

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