Chamber “In a Stir” Over Major Food Event’s Golden Jubilee Anniversary
Plans have long been in the making by the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce for the 50th Anniversary Stew Contest. This is to be the ‘granddaddy of them all’ as far as attendance goes, even by stupendous standards of past stew contests. Now that the time is almost here, the Chamber staff is preparing in high gear. But let’s get a little background on it by asking, what actually is the Hopkins County Stew Contest?
During a KSST Good Morning Show interview on August 21, 2019, Chamber President and CEO Lezley Brown and Chamber VP Logan Vaughan discussed ‘stew’ with host Enola Gay. The tradition of stew-making and it’s invention by early settlers to this area holds importance. At one time, gatherings called “end of school stew” was popular with as many as 100 different small schools scattered throughout the county. And the preparation of huge quantities of the authentic chicken-based stew was necessary during the 1954 Hopkins County Centennial when hundreds of people “came home’ for the celebration held in Buford Park. However, the idea of a “stew-cooking competition” began about 50 years ago, launched by the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce. Somewhere along the way, the event took on the designation of World Champion Hopkins County Stew Cook-Off. Then, steadily increasing in popularity, 2018 brought a whopping 174 pots of stew prepared by cooking teams scattered throughout the park. And knowing that the 50th anniversary would be bigger than that, the Chamber is preparing spaces for more than 200 pots of stew at the October 2016 annual Cook-off.
If you want to enter the contest, here are a few things you should do. Go to hopkinschamber.org and clock on the Events tab. There you will find information, a list of categories and entry forms. Remember the deadline to enter the contest and keep your own stew site in Friday September 13 at 5pm. Starting Monday September 16, all remaining sites will be opened up for selection by new cooks. An opportunity for stew cooks to pick up their bags and get answers to questions is all day Tuesday October 15 from 9am til 6pm at the Chamber office. That same evening, an informational meeting for new stew cooks will be held at 6pm.