The World Championship Gumbo Cookoff will not be happening in Iberia Parish this year, after a vote from the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors Monday morning.
The cookoff, which is one of Iberia Parish’s most successful community events, will be postponed as an on-site event until Oct. 9-10 in 2021, according to a prepared statement from the chamber.
According to the GICC, a decision about the cookoff was postponed as long as possible, and was ultimately made after careful consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We all love gumbo and the gumbo event, but when it came to the final decision the board vote was about doing everything the chamber can, as a leading organization, to protect our greatest asset which is our people,” Gumbo Chair Wendell Verret said in a prepared statement.
“Seeing Iberia Parish and regional COVID-19 cases increasing again (and) not moving into Phase III of the state’s reopening plan are all indicators that hosting such a large event is not in the best interest of our resident and visitors.”
Instead of the on-site event, the chamber is instead focusing on offering a “virtual gumbo experience,” which will be a marketing strategy until the return of the cookoff next year.
The decision comes weeks after Iberia Parish’s other largest annual event, the Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival, was also cancelled due to concerns with COVID-19.
The World Championship Gumbo Cookoff annually brings competitors from all over Louisiana and the rest of the country to compete for the coveted prize of having the best gumbo. The cookoff would have been in its 31st year.
Apart from the gumbo cookoff, the event also offers cooks specializing in other local dishes, as well as music and games for children during the course of the two-day event.