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26th Annual Rufus B. Lee Gumbo Cook-Off

May 19 @ 5:00 pm 8:00 pm CDT

Tickets and t-shirts will be available to purchase at event.

The Propeller Club, Port of Mobile, will host the 26th Annual Rufus B. Lee Gumbo Cook-off at GulfQuest’s Promenade area on May 19, 2023, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  The Gumbo Cook-off recognizes National Maritime Day, a day annually set aside to recognize America’s maritime industry, and especially those who serve at sea.  The Gumbo Cook-off celebrates Mobile’s waterfront, on the waterfront, which serves as the featured attraction for the event from the scenic promenade at GulfQuest. The Cook-off also highlights GulfQuest, the National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico, and all net proceeds from the event will go to support GulfQuest.

The Gumbo Cook-off will feature maritime displays, activities for kids, music, and, of course GUMBO!  Registered teams will compete for the best tasting gumbo as decided by a distinguished panel of judges. Food service establishments have the option to participate non-competitively with recipe samples other than gumbo.

KIDS ACTIVITIES:  GulfQuest will have games and art projects for kids. Free hot dogs will be available while supplies last (for kids of all ages).

This is a rain or shine event.


Core Industries
Parker Towing

Cook-off Teams and Tables

1Available6Alabama Port Authority11The American Equity Underwriters16U.S. Coast Guard
2Page & Jones7Parker Towing12Crescent Towing17Armbrecht Jackson LLP
3Page & Jones8APM Terminals13Catholic Maritime 18Gulf Quest Maritime Museum
4McCarron Services9OHC14Seabulk Towing
5Alabama Shipyard10Lewis Pest Control15Norton Lilly International

T-shirt Design

Participation or Sponsorships

There are three ways to participate in the Gumbo Cook-off (and you can participate in any or all):  as an Attendee, as a Sponsor, and as a Team.

All attendees will be given event wristbands as “tickets” to gain admittance and enjoy the food, drink, music, and attractions.  Tickets can be purchased in advance online and picked up at the entrance, or purchased at the event. 

Tickets to attend are $15 in advance with a cut-off of ordering online of noon on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.  After this time, tickets may be purchased for $20 starting at 5:00 at the event entrance (day of Cook-off).  Tickets are required for anyone 16 and over.

Active duty military and their families with an active duty identification card will get in for free.
Attendees will also be able to purchase event t-shirts.
All attendees are considered invited patrons of the Propeller Club, Port of Mobile, as this event is not open to the general public.

SPONSORS (Presenting, Gold, Silver, and T-Shirt)
Sponsors logos/names are featured on a special Gumbo Cook-off t-shirt created for the event.  

Presenting Sponsor $3,000: The Presenting Sponsorship is limited to one company. The Presenting Sponsor will have the ability to make remarks during the awards ceremony.  The Presenting Sponsorship also includes one tent space, ten entry tickets, logo on the FRONT of the event t-shirt, recognition on the event website/emails and logo on entrance banner. 

Gold Sponsor $2,000: The Gold Sponsorship is available to multiple companies. A Gold Sponsor will have the ability to make remarks during the awards ceremony.  The Gold Sponsorship also includes one tent space, ten entry tickets, logo on the event t-shirt, recognition on the event website/emails and logo on entrance banner. 

Silver Sponsor $1,000: The Silver Sponsorship is available to multiple companies. The Silver Sponsor includes four entry tickets, logo on event t-shirt, recognition on the event website/emails, entrance banner and awards ceremony. 

Beverage Sponsor $900: The Beverage Sponsorship is limited to one company. The Beverage Sponsor will receive two entry tickets, recognition on the event website/emails and a sign at the beverage tent during the event. 

DJ Sponsor $550: The DJ Sponsorship is limited to one company. The DJ Sponsor will receive two entry tickets, recognition on the event website/emails and a sign at the DJ station during the event. 

T-shirt Sponsor $250: The T-shirt sponsorship is available to multiple companies. The T-shirt Sponsor will include the company name (text, not logo) on the event t-shirt and two entry tickets. 

Teams make this event special, have a great time serving up their gumbo, and are encouraged to register early to select the best space on the riverfront.  Team registration costs $200, and can be done online. Team registration INCLUDES tickets for 10 persons.  Note that all team members are required to have “tickets” (wristbands).

When registering, teams will select their 15’x15’ space on the waterfront. Please note this allows for a typical 10’x10’ popup style tent with nearly 2’ on either side between your tent and the next tent. Teams also can select two spaces if needed. Please note that tent locations are subject to adjustment pending the number of teams.  

Set Up/Take Down: Teams are allowed in the Promenade to start setting up at 10:00 a.m. on May 19, 2023.  Teams must supply their own tent, tables, chairs, trash bags and cooking supplies.  Teams will also be required to supply their own power/heat. 

**NEW THIS YEAR**  When loading/unloading – no vehicles shall be allowed to drive on the Promenade. Vehicles will be unable to pull up next to tent locations as in previous years. There will be a loading/unloading zone located in the driveway area just to the north of GulfQuest’s entrance. This is a short distance from the loading/unloading area to the tent area. Even though it is a short distance, we suggest you take something to help you transport your tent/chairs/gumbo supplies from the loading/unloading area to your tent.  Once you’ve unloaded, please park your vehicle in the Cruise Terminal parking garage. After the event, you may use this same loading/unloading area. 

  • Tents are to be set up/erected with sandbags as anchors. 
  • Cooking is permitted on paved areas only. An appropriate protection mat or barrier should be placed between the cooking equipment and paved area.
  • Propeller Club will provide bowls, spoons, napkins, gloves, which will be distributed to teams on the afternoon of the event.  If additional supplies are needed, they may be picked up at the Propeller Club tent throughout the event.

Tents: Please notify Wendy Crocker (251-680-7716 or of the company that will be installing your tent. Port City Rentals is a sponsor of the event. If you need to rent a tent, table or chairs we encourage you to use Port City Rentals since they will already be on-site. Weather permitting, Port City Rental will set up tents on 5/18/22 and tear down on 5/20/22.  There is no overnight security so we encourage you not to leave small rented items overnight. 

Gumbo: Teams are responsible for furnishing and serving their own gumbo.  Any kind of gumbo is allowed. Teams may pre-cook and heat at the event. We advise that teams prepare at least 6-8 gallons. Teams are only to serve gumbo to event guests, who can be identified by the event wristband.  Please direct guests without wristbands to the entry table.

Ticket Pick-Up:  Teams can pick up tickets (and t-shirts if ordered) in advance at GulfQuest, 155 S Water St, Mobile, AL 36602 from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, 2032; and from 8:30 a.m. – noon on Friday, May 19, 2023. If tickets and t-shirts are not picked up by noon Friday, May 19, 2023, they will be available at the registration table located at the event entrance on the south side of the GulfQuest Building at 5:00 p.m.  Additional tickets and t-shirts may be purchased at the event.

Awards:  Awards will be given to first, second, and third place gumbo teams, first place booth decorations and to “The People’s Choice” – a category which allows the guests to choose the gumbo they like the best. For The People’s Choice, large plastic jars will be distributed to all gumbo stations and the team with the most tips will win “The People’s Choice Award.” Anyone can put money in the jar (team members included) and the tips go to The Propeller Club’s charity of choice. Jars will be picked up at 7:00 p.m.  

Gumbo/Judging Schedule: Teams will be given gumbo containers to use for judging and will be responsible for taking gumbo to the judge’s table. About one hour before the start of the event, The Propeller Club will deliver the gumbo containers to each team’s tent. At this time, you will also receive a time to take gumbo to the judge’s table. Winners will be announced at 7:30 p.m.  Gumbo will be judged on presentation, flavor, texture and aroma.

Garbage: All teams MUST use trash bags and clean all debris from your area before leaving the park. A dumpster will be provided for trash and located in the parking lot of GulfQuest. Teams are to take their own trash to the dumpster and clean their area before exiting the park.

Parking at the Cruise Terminal Parking Garage

Free parking is available at the Cruise Terminal Parking Garage.  The Cruise Terminal Parking Garage is the closest parking location to the entrance to the event. 


The Propeller Club is currently requesting volunteers to help in the following areas: Ticketing, beverages (must be over 21), t-shirt sales, judges table and garbage pickup. Volunteer positions are one hour shifts only, please contact Tami Bell-Dembski (251-525-1021 if you are interested in volunteering.  

For additional information about this event, please contact:
Tami Bell-Dembski – 251-525-1021 or
Wendy Crocker – 251-680-7716 or

GulfQuest National Maritime Museum

155 S Water St
Mobile, 36602 United States
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(251) 436-8901
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