The Sixth Annual Great Grits Cook-Off and Festival is returning to Prattville Saturday, October 20 from 9 am – 2 pm to benefit the Prattville YMCA Coach a Child Scholarship Fund. The day will include live music, bounce houses, arts and crafts vendors and a whole lot of grits. For the fourth year, the day will begin with the Nitty Gritty 5K Race.
The Great Grits Cook-Off and Festival was the idea of Hootie and Bob Gipson, second generation owners of Gipson’s Tires, a tire and automotive service business, with three locations in Prattville, Millbrook and Montgomery. “We are excited to continue our relationship with the YMCA and Coach a Child Campaign. As the founders of this event we can’t be more excited about this year. More cook teams and vendors than last year should make this an event to remember” says Hootie Gipson.
The Great Grits Cook-Off and Festival will include a cooking competition of businesses, churches, restaurants and individuals for the best grits recipe. The cooking competition will be judged on taste, presentation and originality. In addition, a “People’s Choice Award” will be presented to the team that receives the most votes (dollar bills) by those attending. Prizes will be awarded in each category.
The cookoff & festival will also include the 5th Nitty Gritty 5K. The race will begin at 8:00 AM and feature awards for all ages. The completion of the race will coincide with the opening of the grits festival. You can register for the race at www. NittyGritty.itsyourrace.com.
The first Great Grits Cook-Off and Festival was held on September 21, 2013, and drew an enthusiastic crowd despite inclement weather that pushed the event indoors. The last three years with good weather and an increased number of vendors and cook teams drew an even larger crowd. “Last year three was amazing,” said Keith Cantrell, Assistant General Director of the Prattville YMCA. “We estimated over 2000 people attended. We have no reason to believe this year’s crowd will not be even bigger'”
All of the funds raised at the Great Grits Cook-Off and Festival will go to benefit the Coach a Child Scholarship Fund, which is a cornerstone of the YMCA in their commitment to never turn a child away due to their inability to pay. That commitment held true even in the tough economic conditions of our country. So far in 2017, the Prattville YMCA has given over $190,000 in scholarships to families and children benefiting over 3000 different individuals. The Coach a Child Scholarship Fund allows the YMCA to bless the lives of so many who could not otherwise afford the privilege of participating in Y programs.
The Prattville YMCA is a huge part of the Prattville community and according to Cantrell the Gipson’s understand the value of giving back. “Bob and Hootie truly understand the role the YMCA plays in developing young people, especially those who come from a disadvantaged background,” Cantrell said. “They have personally been blessed in their business, and they are using their blessing to benefit others. It’s folks like that that make the Prattville YMCA and our community so special. What started as what some would call a strange idea has become an expectation in the community. I am always having people ask, “when is the grits cookoff.”
Gipson’s Tires, a Tire Pros Dealer, has been in business for over thirty years, and places great importance on supporting the community from which it has gained its long-term reputation for excellence in customer service in the tire and automotive service. Gipson’s Tires has supported charitable organizations such as River Region Pregnancy Center (formerly The Grace Place) with an annual Diaper Bank Drive, the Prattville Boys and Girls Club, the Alabama Cancer Wellness Foundation, Alabama Wildlife Federation and of course their partnership with the Prattville YMCA.
Cook teams and vendors are currently being accepted. If you would like to participate in this great event, contact Keith Cantrell at 334-358-9622.
Where else can you walk or run a 5k and then sample wonderful variations of local grits? The Prattville YMCA has the only race of its kind. Awards are given to top runners in each age group with the fastest male and female runners going home with the coveted prize of the Golden Spoon! All pre-registered runners will receive a race shirt. The race will begin and end on the campus of the Willis Bradford Branch of the Prattville YMCA (972 McQueen Smith Rd S ) and take you through the beautiful Silver Hills neighborhood in east Prattville. A water station will be located at the half way point as well as the finish line. Racers are encouraged to visit the hospitality area following the race as well as enjoying all the Grits you can eat at the Gipson’s Tires Great Grits Cookoff. For more information on running or being a race sponsor contact Cecily Darby @ 334.361.0268. You can register at http://nittygritty.itsyourrace.com/event.aspx?id=1.0993