Second annual cook-off comes to Riverfront Pavilion on Veterans Day

Riverfront Boardwalk and Pavilion, Orange

Break out the hoodies, gloves and snowcaps … well, it may not be that cold, but it is perfect weather for savory gumbo, and just in time for the second annual Gumbo Cook-Off hosted by the Orange Convention & Visitors Bureau on Saturday, Nov. 11, at the Riverfront Pavilion (803 Green Ave).

The name “gumbo” derives from a West African word for okra, suggesting that gumbo was originally made with okra, and some of the best gumbo you will ever taste can be okra heavy. Chefs will add chicken, sausage and/or their favorite seafood, but most will tell you it’s all about the roux.

The roux is made from a mixture of white wheat flour and cooking fat browned almost to the point where it is burnt but still full of flavor. It’s used to thicken the gumbo. Roux serves as the base for most gumbo recipes where a rich, deep, hearty flavor and texture is desired,

Those thinking they’ve got what it takes can enter the contest with a first prize of $500 promotional gift card; second place is a $300 gift card, with a $100 gift card for third place.

Limited spaces are available, so to enter, call (409) 883-1011 or (409) 883-1010.

For those not wanting to compete, there will be plenty of gumbo to taste at Riverfront Boardwalk and Pavilion from 1-7 p.m. on Nov. 11.

The Gumbo Cook-off is free to the public and family friendly, and coolers will be allowed for this event. Please note that no pets will be allowed.

In celebration of Veterans Day, the event will begin at 1 p.m. with the Presentation of Colors, Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem, and recognition of veterans according to the various military branches served.

A Veterans Day Munchkin Parade has been added to this year’s Cook-Off and will take place at 4 p.m. Children from to age 12 are invited to participate. Participants are asked to be at the staging location at the City of Orange Public Library parking area at 220 Fifth St. by 3 p.m. The parade will then proceed west along Front Avenue, south along Fifth Street to W. Division Avenue, and will end at the Riverfront Pavilion.

Parents and children are encouraged to decorate wagons, golf carts, strollers, and battery operated Hot Wheels in the theme of Veterans Day. Children may bring their own beads and candy to throw to the public. Please note, parents or guardians must accompany children in the parade. Entry forms must be submitted by Friday, Nov. 3, at 4 p.m. Call (409) 883-1011 for parade information.

The event will also include live entertainment by local country musicians Danny Dillon beginning at 2 p.m. and Brad Brinkley & Comfort Zone at 5 p.m.

Brinkley grew up in Baytown and he was born to play music. His father, Emmitt, played fiddle with several professionals including Johnny Lee and Mark Chesnutt.

Brinkley, surrounded by music at an early age, began singing at churches, fairs and festivals, and while in high school, took gigs at notable hot spots such as Cutters, Cowboys and The Longhorn Club. He has since opened for the likes of Garth Brooks, Tracy Lawrence and Willie Nelson, just to name a few.

If you haven’t seen Brinkley and love country music, you will love this traditional artist who has been dubbed the “Human Jukebox.”

Dillon has been one of the most sought-after musicians in the area with a style and taste all his own. Determined to stick to his roots in Texas country, Dillon’s music is crisp and clear with a grunge and tasteful Texas country twist.

His love of music has given him the opportunity to collaborate alongside great artists such as Cody Johnson, Casey Donahew Band, Rich O Toole, Kree Harrison, Jackson Taylor and others.

“I love my family very much; they are the reason I strive and do what I do,” said Dillon. “Being able to lift people, make them laugh, and put a smile on their faces is a great feeling. Without fans, the music industry couldn’t be what it is today.”