PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

March 28, 2014

Taste of Gumbo, Craft Show set for Saturday

Libby Arnold is ready for some gumbo.

Dubbed “Queen Gumbo,” Arnold is this year’s chairperson for the Port Arthur Rotary Club’s annual Taste of Gumbo which will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center. Tickets are 410 each and can be purchased at the door.

The event directly funds grants to provide services in the community. Some of the past grants have benefited Capland Center, Community Care Prayer Outreach Center, Salvation Army and youth scholarships at Lamar State College-Port Arthur.

While the gumbo and food will take center stage she is introducing a new twist — a craft show.

There will also be a silent auction and a DJ playing Zydeco and Cajun music with some oldies mixed in.

“I want people to feel like they have gone and had a festive day,” Arnold said. “I’m expecting it to be great because we have lots of booths and some very good restaurants and very good organizations who are bringing gumbo.”

A number of restaurants and organizations will be on hand with their gumbo, some of which are first-timers to the event such as Finch Hutton of Nederland.

Angela Strickland, manager of the restaurant, said she is excited about participating in the event as is Francisco Guzman, or Chef Chi Chi as he is known at the eatery.

Guzman trained under Chef Rafael Ruiz and has been cooking professionally for 15 years, he said.

Gumbo booths will bring at least 40 galloons of gumbo and this year will feature the Taste of Gumbo Show Down. There will be judging for top honors in seafood gumbo, poultry gumbo and best all around.

Arnold is hoping to make the craft show a permanent addition to the annual Taste of Gumbo, she said.

“I’m hoping this will be the beginning of revitalizing the craft show,” she said adding that many years ago she attended the event and there was a craft show included. “I hope this will bring it to the forefront again so next year it will be set up and there will be vendors calling.”

Arnold already has her attire planned out for Saturday. Janie Johnson with United Way created a special apron for her with glittered words and “queen gumbo” written on it. Instead of a crown or fancy jewels or crown she will don some faux crystal earrings, she said.

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