Some of Galveston’s top restaurants will compete for the best shrimp gumbo designation during the inaugural Galveston Island Shrimp Festival cook off on Saturday, Sept. 25. Participating restaurants include Benno’s on the Beach, Bernardo’s Restaurant at Hotel Galvez, Float Pool & Patio Bar, Luigi's Ristorante Italiano, M&M Restaurant & Bar, Olympia The Grill at Pier 21, Shearn's Restaurant at Moody Gardens, The Spot and Yaga’s Café, as well as Galveston College Culinary School. Visitors can purchase a tasting cup for $5 to sample the gumbo from participating restaurants.
Shrimp Festival activities begin on Friday, Sept. 24 and continue through Sunday, Sept. 26. Events include a 5K run/walk, gumbo cook off, children’s parade, merchant walkabout and bicycle ride followed by a tailgate party. Gumbo lovers can sample and judge wild shrimp gumbo prepared by area restaurants participating in the professional category.
“We think that is important that visitors know that Gulf Coast seafood from Texas is safe as well as tasty and this festival gives us the opportunity to showcase this important industry,” says Mike Dean, president of Yaga's Entertainment, Inc., a local events company.
This year, the festival will limit the number of participating teams to 100 including teams designated to Gulf Coast area restaurants and Texas Department of Agriculture's GO TEXAN Program members. Attendees will taste and vote on the best shrimp gumbo of the restaurants. The best in the amateur category will be decided by a panel of judges. Other gumbo categories include chicken and sausage, shrimp bisque and an open division. A limited number of Texas wineries will offer wine samples to festival attendees.
The Galveston Island Shrimp Festival Schedule is as follows:
  • Friday, Sept. 24, 8p.m. to 10 p.m. – Cook off Team and Sponsor Party
  • Saturday, Sept. 25
    • 8:30 a.m. – 5K run and 1K children’s walk benefitting the University Texas Medical Branch
    • 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Merchant Walk-About
    • noon to 3 p.m. – Public Gumbo Tasting
    • 3 p.m. – Little Shrimps Children’s Downtown Parade
  • Sunday, Sept. 26, 11 a.m. – Whimcycle Shrimpcycle followed by tailgate party for the Houston Texans vs. Dallas Cowboys football game. Pre-registration is required.
For registration and more event information go to
Erin Dhonau, Yaga’s Entertainment Inc.,, 409-770-0999
Christine Hopkins, APR, Mitchell Historic Properties,, 409-457-1055