By Mary Starr

It seems that there’s little that St. Simons Island residents enjoy more than a festival — especially if it’s based around food, and benefits a good cause at the same time.

Bands & Bites

That’s one reasons organizers are anticipating a sell-out crowd for the newest outgrowth of the St. Simons Food + Spirits Festival. “Bands & Bites” will be held from 4-10 p.m. March 23 at Gascoigne Bluff Park, on St. Simons Island. With the last two food and spirits festivals being either cancelled or delayed due to hurricanes, it was decided to begin the way back with an abbreviated festival that will feature local chefs and regional distillers, brewers and vintners. Tickets, which are $75 per person, may be purchased at

Amy Debrecini, vice president of the executive board of the St. Simons Food + Spirits Festival, and involved since its beginning, said the original organizers of the festival — Griffin Bufkin, Harrison Sapp and Brad Hummel — wanted to create a benefit to help Hospice of the Golden Isles, but are now concentrating their efforts on the Firebox Initiative, which benefits hospitality workers who are ill, injured and in financial duress.

The festival music this year will be on par with larger events. Strawberry Flats with John Keane, Pine Box Dwellers and the Randall Bramlett Band will take the stage. For the uninitiated, Keane is an Athens-based producer and musician.

“He’s a big-time producer,” said Debrecini, adding that Keane has produced albums for REM, Widespread Panic, Indigo Girls and Cowboy Junkies, among others.

Debricini is working with Beth Williams, who is in charge of logistics and execution for the first-time event. Thankfully, she said, she has an assistant for sound and music, but she’s in charge of everything else, including volunteer recruitment.

“We have volunteers from Hospice of the Golden Isles, but I want to bring in some more local people who are willing to help,” she said. “Every single person helping out is local, with the exception of two of the bands.”

Restaurants that will be participating include Certified Burgers & Beverage, LaPlancha, Halyards, Tramici, Southern Soul, Georgia Sea Grill, Del Sur, Echo, Boulevard Cafe and Tortuga Jack’s, among others.

Williams said around 10 beverage vendors will be on hand, including Lit Vodka from Savannah. Wineries represented will include Z. Alexander Brown Winery (headed by none other than country singer Zac Brown himself) and Wolf Creek Winery. Wild Heaven Beer, from Avondale Estates, will also be represented.

“Some of the spirits and beers are available from Matt Sligh at St. Simons Bottle,” said Williams.

Debrecini bills the upcoming event as more typical of what people might find at a concert.

“It’s fun, a little different than what we’ve been doing,” she said.

A Taste of Glynn

A Taste of Glynn, which benefits the Glynn Community Crisis Center, will celebrate its 19th year on April 14. The event, which will again be held at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, on St. Simons Island, will be from 5-8 p.m.

The event will feature samples from area restaurants and caterers, the judges and people’s choice competitions in an array of categories, entertainment and a silent auction.

A perfect oceanside venue, the event typically attracts 1,000 to 1,200 people for an evening of culinary delights, silent auctions and live entertainment.

This year, entertainment will be provided by Michael Hulett, Bill Lukitsch and Monique Cothern.

The silent auction will feature a variety of prizes, with some of the most notable being a two-night stay at the Westin on Jekyll Island with breakfast for two, a bicycle donated by Monkeywrench and golf at The King and Prince Golf Course for four. Other highlights include a cooking class for six with lunch in The Cloister kitchen on Sea Island, dolphin tours, a kayak tour, a two-night stay at the Hampton Inn on Jekyll Island, golf for four with lunch at Sea Palms and a one-night stay at the Village Inn & Pub.

Glynn Community Crisis Center operates a 24-hour Crisis Hotline, provides safe housing and advocacy for battered women and their children at Amity House, transitional housing at Hope House, outreach services and advocacy to non-sheltered clients and other services such as Safe Dates and free support groups.

“A Taste of Glynn is our primary fundraiser for the year,” said Dottie Bromley, executive director of The Glynn Community Crisis Center. “The proceeds pay for costs not covered by grants, as well as provide matching dollars as required by our funders. These dollars make a difference and are critical to maintaining programming and safe shelter for survivors as they build life anew free from abuse and fear.”

Tickets are $45 per person in advance, or $60 the day of the event. For tickets and information go to There will be free shuttle service for A Taste of Glynn patrons will be provided from Massengale Park on Ocean Boulevard, St. Simons Island, to the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort.

Selected upcoming events

We’ve hand-picked some interesting events taking place in the next few weeks. See our calendar for more information.

• March 23 — Big Truck Round Up will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the North Glynn Recreation Complex, 622 Harry Driggers Blvd., in Brunswick. Featured will be big trucks and emergency vehicles for children to view, climb in and see how things work. Free.

• March 29 — Rodeo at the Beach will be at 6 p.m. at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds, 101 Emory Dawson Road, in Brunswick. Admission is $10 per person to this IPRA-sanctioned event.

• March 29 — Zang Toi Fashion Show to benefit the Coastal Symphony of Georgia. Tickets are $95 per person, and include round-trip transportation from St. Simons to Old City Hall, in Brunswick, the New York Fashion Week-style runway show, and a reception with open bar and passed hors d’oeuvres. Details: 912-638-3470.

• April 5 — International Festival will be held from 2-7 p.m. at College of Coastal Georgia, in Brunswick. The event will feature the art, music, food, cultural displays and activities for kids. Free to the public.

• April 9-15 — The Nao Santa Maria will dock at Brunswick Landing Marina and offer guided deck tours and informational displays.

• April 17-29 — The Tall Shop Lynx will be ported at The Brunswick Landing Marina. It is a replica of an 1812 privateer with the same name, and is home ported in Nantucket, Mass.

The ship will be open to the public offering Free dockside Deck Tours, along with offering their award-winning educational programs to schools and youth groups. The lynx and crew is also offering daily public sailing.Tickets for the public sailing are available at

• April 27 — The public grand opening of MOSAIC, the new Jekyll Island Museum, will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 100 Stable Road, Jekyll Island. This free event will feature food trucks, crafts and games for children and live entertainment.

• May 11 — Mayfair Festival and Annual Blessing of the Fleet will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Mary Ross Waterfront Park, in Brunswick.

• June 1 — Georgia Sea Islands Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Gascoigne Bluff Park, on St. Simons Island. This free event will feature the Gullah Geechee Ring Shouters, live entertainment featuring Smooth Journey, Sheila Tyson, Shy’Keira Mangram, Ajamu Mutima and more, arts, crafts, nonprofit information and food. Details: 912-634-0330.