The first festival in Camden County since the COVID-19 outbreak is scheduled for Saturday.

The 37th annual Kingsland Catfish Festival will be held in the traditional location on U.S. 17, with a normal schedule of live entertainment, a 5K run, an estimated 80 arts, crafts and food booths and a full day of live entertainment from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Paula Chamberlin, director of the city’s downtown development authority, said the traditional catfish dinners prepared by the Knights of Columbus will not be offered this year because of coronavirus concerns. But she said many of the food vendors will be allowed to serve catfish for the first time in the festival’s history.

“There’s going to be catfish everywhere,” she said.

A new twist this year is the first ever catfish cook-off. Participants have two and a half hours to prepare their favorite catfish recipe from scratch, and make enough to share samples with the crowd. Five judges will determine the best recipe after the time limit to prepare the meals ends.

Many arts and crafts vendors will be selling holiday items for those interested in getting an early start on Christmas shopping. There will also be a hospitality tent selling beer and wine.

The Southeast Georgia Jeep Jam already has 125 Jeeps from all eras signed up. There will be different categories judged including the cleanest, dirtiest, most abused and the ones with the best Christmas decorations.

There will also be an obstacle course set up about a half mile from the festival site for jeeps to test their driving skills, she said.

The festival traditionally hires well-known acts, but this year the entertainment will be from the region performing on two different stages.

To ensure the safety of participants, Chamberlin said all vendors will be required to set up by 9 a.m. Then a company called Rodgers Reflections, a professional cleaning service, will sanitize all surfaces with a solution that will last for weeks. Volunteers will be wiping surfaces throughout the day.

Masks are encouraged, but not required. Social distancing is also encouraged, and there will be hand sanitizing stations throughout the festival site.

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