By Associated Press - Sunday, April 25, 2021

JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. (AP) - One of coastal Georgia’s biggest food festivals has been canceled for a second straight year.

Jekyll Island will forgo its Shrimp & Grits Festival this fall, The Brunswick News reported. The coronavirus pandemic forced organizers to pull the plug in 2020. Now a lack of funding from sponsors and fewer restaurants committing to participate prompted organizers to shelve the festival until November 2022.

“We don’t want to do anything that causes Shrimp & Grits not to be the premiere festival,” Jones Hooks, executive director of the Jekyll Island Authority, told the agency’s governing board Tuesday. “We don’t want it to be lackluster.”

One of the festival highlights has been restaurant chefs serving up their own unique spins on shrimp and grits for attendees to sample. Hooks noted many restaurants are still struggling from the pandemic, with many trying to deal with staffing shortages that would make it harder for them to take part in the festival.

But Hooks insisted that after a two-year hiatus, the Shrimp & Grits Festival will return. He plans for a big comeback to celebrate the event’s 15th anniversary next year.

“We are already looking toward the future,” Hooks said, “and in no stretch of the imagination should it be interpreted that this would be the end of Shrimp & Grits because that is not the case at all.”

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