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Organizers prepare for annual festival
The winner of this year's Brunswick Rockin' Stewbilee will claim more than bragging rights.

The Stewbilee committee has added a cash prize of $1,000 for the winning entry.

The 13th annual event will feature the community's favorite events on Nov. 10 at Mary Ross Waterfront Park in downtown Brunswick.

One returning team, Blackwater Grill on St. Simons Island, is eager to get started and try to reclaim first place, says team member Daniel Veal, managing partner of the restaurant.

"We think we have the best recipe and we like to showcase it," Veal said. "We get a lot of customers that come in and tell us how good our Brunswick Stew is."

What sets Blackwater's recipe apart from others could be the addition of a "Cajun flair," Veal said.

"Some people add Cajun ingredients, but we like to add a bit of Lowcountry spice, too. I think that sets us apart," Veal added.

No matter where they place - they have almost every year they've entered - the day is just a fun time, he said.

"It's a great time to visit with people and try all the delicious stew," Veal said.

Stew is just one of the ingredients of the annual festival. There are also the classic car show, pooch parade, arts and crafts and live bands.

Registration for the pooch parade, 5K race, stew competition and classic car show is already open on the stew festival's website, said Heath Slapikas, chairman of the committee.

The pooch parade features dogs, accompanied by their owners, in their best dressed attire for a fun-filled stroll downtown and a shot at one of many prizes.

The Classic and Antique Car Show is another favorite.

"This year we've pushed the start times of the events back a little bit," Slapikas said. "Our 5K run has been pushed back to start at 8:30 a.m., and our pooch parade will start at 10:15 a.m."

The move will hopefully bring some late risers out, he said.

The addition of a $1,000 prize will enhance the quality of the stews and heighten the competition, he said.

"We're taking the Judge's Choice, People's Choice and Presentation Awards into account and there will be an overall winner," Slapikas said.

Slapikas encouraged stew teams to form and register.

"All of our forms for the vendors, stew team, pooch parade, car show and 5K race are updated on our website," Slapikas said.

Live entertainment will be presented by the Wharfratz and Mason Waters and the Groove Allstars throughout the day.

Visitors full from stew can stroll through local and regional vendors who show off their arts and crafts and leave the children to play at the Junior Stewbee Central Fun Zone.

Slapikas invites those interested to pre-register at

List of Events:

* 8:30 a.m. 5K run begins

* 10:15 a.m. Pooch parade begins

* 11 a.m. Classic and Antique Car Show

* The festival also includes live entertainment, arts and crafts and the Junior Stewbee Central Fun Zone all day long.

* Advanced tickets are $3 for children under 6 and $6 for adults; tickets the day of the event cost $4 for children under 6 and $9 for adults.

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