Clear skies for Shrimp Feast
Published 10:31 pm Thursday, October 9, 2014
After severe thunderstorms closed down last year’s event, Thursday’s Shrimp Feast — kicking off the 2014 Peanut Fest — was a sea of happy faces in the bright sunshine.
At Suffolk Executive Airport for four fun-filled hours, revelers chomped their way through more than 2,000 pounds of shrimp — not to mention other tasty morsels — while enjoying unlimited beverages and live music.
“I think it’s going great,” event co-chair Jimmy Franks said from the golf cart he rode around in while ensuring things ran smoothly. “Everybody looks like they’re having a good time.”
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There were a couple of new aspects to the event this year. Suffolk Ruritan Club — for which Shrimp Feast is a major fundraiser — held a ticket exchange for those who bought tickets for last year’s event but couldn’t make it on account of the rain.
At 4 p.m., Franks reported about 460 exchanged tickets.
“Hopefully we’ll still make money,” he said, citing 2,600 total tickets.
Another change — and one Franks said would be permanent — was no more refill line. The Suffolk News-Herald overheard one woman complain to Franks about the change, concerned she wouldn’t be able to get more shrimp.
Franks said the woman was the only person to complain to him so far.
“Instead of having a refill line, we are filling up the plates,” he said.
“Filling up the plates” — according to Franks — meant a pound of shrimp, five ounces of barbecue, two pieces of chicken tenders, rolls, coleslaw and potato salad.
“For $30, you get plenty of food, good entertainment and unlimited drinks,” he said.
“All the money that we make on this goes back into the community. I think this is 36 or 37 years, and we have given back over $1.6 million.”
The event supports “all your charitable organizations,” Franks said, giving the Red Cross and King’s Kids as examples.
“After we give away our budget, if something comes up, someone needs help, we help them,” he said.
Peeling shrimp, Kathy Ramage, a 15-year Shrimp Feast veteran, said the event allows her to catch up with folks she hasn’t seen in a long while. “Since the last time I was here,” she said.
“You miss those people because you are so busy throughout the year. Then you come out here and it’s been a year, but it doesn’t seem like a year.”
Wade Campbell said he’s been coming to the event for about 10 years — “that I can remember.”
“It’s a good social event,” Campbell said.
Kim Campbell observed that this year was “bright and sunny and warm. And dry.”
“At least so far,” her husband added, though there was barely a cloud to be seen.
Craig Taylor said one has to travel a long way to find another party like Shrimp Feast.
“There ain’t nothing like this going on, unless you go for a distance,” he said. “As a local, you look forward to it every year.”