The famous Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival (GOSF), hosted by the Richmond Hill/Bryan County Chamber of Commerce, is just around the corner here in Richmond Hill! We have so much to look forward to at this community event from entertainment and thrill rides to the star of the event—the food! As they say “it takes a village” or in this case a “troop”. We’re highlighting Boy Scout Troop 400 from Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church and their huge contribution to the GOSF.
I had the pleasure of speaking with troop leader, Mike Votava who gave me the inside scoop on how these amazing scouts are supporting the festival. Just a little back story on the troop, they have been operational in the Hill for nearly 25 years. Troop 400 has consistently maintained a high rate of members attaining Eagle Scout status (100 have attained this to date) and they have been servicing the GOSF since 2016.
Most importantly, if you’ve had the pleasure of indulging in the peach cobbler at the GOSF, it’s this troop of 40-50 scouts that whip up the delectable dessert. You may not know that they make the cobbler completely from scratch. Not only do they cook it on site in Dutch ovens at the festival, they also pick, peel, slice and bag these peaches right from the orchard.
Dickey Farms in Musella, GA hosts the troop each year where about 7,500 peaches are boxed up and brought back to the Hill. The scouts, their parents and troop leaders gather together to prep the fruit for the 250 cobblers that will be baked at the festival.
Mike says, “This event is the troop’s biggest fundraiser of the year. We will serve up 1,500 to 1,600 servings of cobbler over the course of the event with full participation from our families. And it sells out every year.”
In addition, the troop also serves as the sole trash collection crew at the festival volunteering more than 500 hours of community service. “You’ll see our boys in their red shirts working around the grounds taking out the trash throughout the entire run of the festival.” Mike says. “They work 6 hour shifts on each project—either the cobbler or the trash and concurrently are putting in about a thousand volunteer hours”.
This trash gig gives each scout just about enough community service hours for the entire year. Additionally, the proceeds from the cobbler sales allow the troop to attend High Adventure and summer camps as well as buying camping equipment. Mike proudly reports, “The boys just love doing this festival and the community continues to flood us with full support. We are so grateful for this opportunity and hope to continue the tradition for years to come.”
The 24th Annual Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival will be held October 20–22, 2023 at J.F. Gregory Park. I encourage you to find Troop 400 when you’re looking for the perfect dessert to compliment the many seafood offerings at GOSF. I assure you it’s some of the best cobbler you’ll ever taste. And, if you see the boys in red as they’re working around the event, stop and say “Hi” and thank them for their delicious dessert and generous service!
For more information about the GOSF and to purchase tickets, visit goseafoodfestival.com.