Whew! It’s taking me a little time to recover from last weekend’s Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival. If you haven’t been, I’d suggest attending next time. It’s scheduled for Nov. 6-8, 2020. Just make sure you take sunscreen and wear comfortable walking shoes. In addition to the shrimp and grits, this year’s edition featured 32 acres of arts and crafts, food trucks, cooking competitions, wildlife education, chef demonstrations, a craft brew festival and four stages of local entertainers singing and playing their hearts out, and finally, for me the pièce de résistance – the Georgia Grown Alley, with its assortment of jams, jellies, honey and other homegrown products. I attended the Saturday of the three-day event, and couldn’t have picked a better time to go. There were minor inconveniences, but the pay-off was huge – the festival grounds were well-marked, the crowd was orderly and the weather was perfect. I don’t opine too much in these pages, but I will say, as a veteran festival-goer, this is one of the best planned and well put together large-scale events I’ve attended. Well done, Jekyll Island. I can’t wait until next year! See the pictures on page 14.

Our columnists shared some intriguing takes on books and beverages. First, Cary Knapp takes a look at “The Alice Network” by Kate Quinn, which examines the real-life Alice Network in World War I France, which employed women as spies. Jim Henderson, our food and beverage columnist, delivers an account of his most recent visit to Bennie’s Red Barn, where he celebrated a milestone birthday, complete with raccoon. (It’s a beverage, for the uninitiated.) He also discovered a new gin, and provides a recipe for what sounds like an interesting cocktail.

In our centerpiece, we talk to the co-chairs of the American Cancer Society Victory Gala. The 50th anniversary of the ball is planned this year for Oct. 26 at the Sea Island’s Retreat Clubhouse. The annual event, which raises money for cancer research and treatment, has historically been one of the largest per capita fundraisers for the American Cancer Society nationwide. These women, and the women who came before them, beginning in 1969 with the late Harriet Gilbert, have worked tirelessly to help fund a cure for cancer.

We also meet newcomer Matt Valentine and local Lauren Hopkins, and drop in on the recent FaithWorks annual celebration and the inaugural Designer Handbag Bingo event to benefit Safe Harbor Children’s Center Inc.

In the Home section, Gordon Jackson gives some good information on open houses, and columnist Anne Ditmer provides a timely look at weeds, which she defines as “plants growing where you don’t want them,” and how to deal with them.

Also in the Home section, you’ll have an opportunity to meet Realtor LeAnn Duckworth, and interior designer Lindsey Spearman.

If you’re a fan of those HGTV decorating shows, you’ll love our feature. I had the opportunity to spend a morning with Elaine Griffin, Nancy Kaufman and Amanda Johnson at the Habitat ReStore in Brunswick. These three women are gifted with eyes for color and design. Spending time in a showroom, any showroom, with Elaine Griffin, is an experience you’re not likely to forget. She makes things work that I simply cannot envision. Her creativity, energy, and perhaps most of all, her fierce laugh, are good for the soul. Habitat for Humanity of Glynn County will also be hosting its first-ever Hunt Ball on Oct. 6 at Frederica Golf Club, and is on the verge of building its very first neighborhood. We have the details beginning on page 8 in the Home section.

The wonderful thing about writing for a career is one never quits learning. This issue taught me a little bit more about how to pull a room together. I left inspired to redecorate, and in the spirit of repurposing items, have begun the process with three great finds gotten from a friend who recently downsized.

Here’s to inspiration! Enjoy the issue.