Mar 22 2011

Coming Together for Learning Through Loggerheads

event2Tourists and the Edisto community came together Saturday to support Learning through Loggerheads.

McConkey’s Jungle Shack hosted its first annual Ultimate Chef Competition and oyster roast to benefit the efforts of local biologist Meg Hoyle’s loggerhead turtle program on the island. Flowers Seafood provided enough oysters to fill the stomachs of the more than 200 people who bought tickets for the late afternoon oyster roast.

James DeCarlo and Marian Brailsford of the Harvest Moon Lowcountry Grille in Ravenel won the Ultimate Chef Competition. They competed against officials from Buck’s Pizza, Whaley’s,  Plantation Grill, and Two Chucks, according to Jennie Smith of McConkey’s Jungle Shack.

The event was judged by Greg Johnsman of Geechie Boy, local cookbook author Nathalie Dupree, and Nathan Thurston of The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island. Bob Bowles from WNC Magazine’s Asheville Wine and Food Festival emceed the event.

“It was just the perfect day and weekend for the event,” Smith said.

The perfectly sunny day with temperatures more suited to summer than barely-Spring also featured a kayak tour, live music, local arts and crafts, bouncy castle for the kids, puppy hugs from Animal Lovers of Edisto, and an overall good time for the more than 300 people who came out to enjoy the day.

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Smith said she and the others who organized the event hope to expand the festival next year to further benefit the non-profit organizations on the island. Smith said she was happy to do this for Learning through Loggerheads as she believes the program not only benefits the turtles, but also area teens who volunteer with Hoyle.

“They get exposed to something great; something they might not ever get a chance to participate in otherwise and get a dose of something bigger than themselves,” Smith said.

Smith said keep an eye out for next year’s event, which promises to be bigger and better to serve the needs of more non-profit organizations on Edisto Island.

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