Brunswick is filled with history. From the buildings that line Newcastle Street and the antebellum homes of old town, the past is very much a part of the present in the city.
The town has always been keen on celebrating its heritage, often incorporating events as part of the mission. One such bit of festive fun is the annual Rockin’ Brunswick Stewbilee.
Held each year in Mary Ross Waterfront Park, the event commemorates the city’s favorite dish — Brunswick stew. Of course, the area’s claim to ownership of the hearty hodgepodge isn’t without its fair share of controversy. The local legacy has been competing against a similar claim in Brunswick County, Virginia.
For the Brunswickians to the north, their version of the stew began in 1828 when it was first complied at a hunting camp. Essentially, those resourceful woodsmen threw everything they had on hand — including squirrel meat — into a cauldron.
The local legend is similar, although dated slightly later. It was said to be concocted in 1898, as the actual alleged pot in the 1898 now situated in the park states.
While it is impossible to prove either claim, both stew histories serve as a bragging point for each location. Certainly, locally, the legend is alive and well — as the return of the annual, stew-centric event indicates. And that celebration will soon return — taking shape from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 26.
The 26th incarnation of the food-based festival will be similar to the previous. Various stew teams will square off, trying their hand at creating the best version of the recipe.
Local musicians will perform and the pooch parade — a annual favorite — will allow well-dressed canines to put their best paw forward.
Below is a complete schedule of activities for the event. There’s still time to register for many of these elements and complete information may be found at www.stewbilee.com:
• 9 a.m. — The Brunswick Rockin’ Stewbilee Dice Ride, a motorcycle ride, will begin at 1505 Richmond St., Brunswick. The cost is $20 per bike and $5 per additional hand. Registration begins at 8 a.m. at the start site and will end at 11 a.m. at the Stewbilee grounds. For more information, call 912-571-1648.
• 10 a.m. — Live music will begin. Two bands will perform throughout the day. Pier Pressure, followed by 3 Day Weekend, who will play the rest of the afternoon.
• 10 a.m. — Antique cars will set up for the show, which is being sponsored by the Brunswick Kiwanis Club. The cost is $15 for early registration and $20 on the day of the event. Those with stew tickets get a $5 discount. Space is limited. The show will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mary Ross.
• 10:15 a.m. — The Pooch Parade, which features canines in costume, will begin at the Stewbilee site. The cost to enter is $10 for the first dog and $5 for additional pups. A release form must be signed before participation. That document may be found Online.
• A Kids Zone will be open to youngsters and offer entertainment throughout the day.
• 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — the Brunswick Rockin’ Stew Tasting will take place, with teams serving up tastes in exchange for tickets. Patrons will be able to vote on their favorite dishes and winners will be crowned. A formal judging will also take place.