A disappearing art may be responsible for the success a McIntosh Art Association’s fundraiser to keep the Old Jail Art Center and Museum going.
Saturday’s Georgia Shrimp and Sapelo Hog Boil and Barbecue is long on local flavor but more than short on tickets.
“We’re sold out,’’ association Director Linda Humphries said last week. “It surprised me.”
The event with Georgia shrimp and a slow-cooked Sapelo Island hog originally was limited to 50 participants but that was extended after would-be diners swarmed after the tickets like fire ants on a foot in a flip-flop.
“We upped it to 80,’’ but had to cap it there, Humphries said. “We had to say that’s all the people we can handle in a particular area.”
The outdoor venue is a private residence overlooking a tidal creek.
Asked about the success of sales, Humphries said the art association may have hit on something.
“We’ve done [fundraisers] before with crab and shrimp,’’ and decided to do something in that vein, she said.
The art association had also hosted some Kentucky Derby Day parties in May, but those weren’t nearly as successful as the draw of local shrimp and barbecued pork. The Saturday evening dinner will also have a silent auction for restaurant gift certificates, boat tours, art and other items.
It’s not as if the association hired a caterer who could get a good deal on Boston butts: They went to a man who learned the art of hunting and cooking wild hogs from his family.
Iregene Grovner grew up in Hog Hammock on Sapelo Island and still lives there.
Now 63, Grovner said he went along as a boy on wild hog hunts on the island. That’s how he got the meat for the barbecue portion of Saturday’s meal. He stalked and killed a hog, dressed it out and it’s ready for slow cooking on the island, Grovner said.
Grovner said he sometimes cooks the hogs in an open pit and other times on a grill but never with charcoal.
“I cook it over live oak wood,’’ he said.
Like the hog, the wood is from Sapelo.
The association’s next fundraiser is the annual masquerade ball in October. They’re negotiating for a larger venue, but Humphries said there’s nothing to announce yet.