35th Kiwanis Shrimp Feast raises money for local children with its array of food, bands and games

PRINCE GEORGE — Seafood was the order of the day Wednesday as hundreds turned out for the 35th annual Shrimp Feast.

Beneath the trees of the Richard Bland College Pecan Grove, attendees ate shrimp and all the fixings as part of a joint fundraiser by the Petersburg Kiwanis Lunch and Breakfast clubs, and the Dinwiddie Kiwanis Club. For those with less of a taste for seafood, hot dogs also were grilled up.

“We came and brought our kids out years ago,” recalled Larry Heidorn, who has been grilling the hot dogs at the festival for three decades. “I complained to [event organizer] Bill Barga about the hot dogs. He came back and said, ‘If you think you can do it better, you come back and do it next year.’”

So he did. And the year after that, and the year after that, and so forth.

Hundreds arrived ready to peel and eat steamed shrimp, cole slaw, baked beans, hush puppies and, of course, the hot dogs supporting their appetites and a good cause at the same time. The food was served in to-go containers which made it convenient for those that couldn’t stay.

“We got Columbia Gas involved. That’s who I worked for before I retired,” Heidorn said. “We’ve been cooking hot dogs here for 30 years now. We started out with 100 hot dogs and now we’re up to 400. We support the Kiwanis as a way to give the kids something to eat, but we have some 99-year-old kids that like hot dogs, too, so that’s why we cook 400.”

In addition to great food and fellowship, bands played and cornhole games were set up.

“This is one of our best years,” Petersburg Kiwanis Lunch Club president Gwendolyn Hogan shared. “It’s a great collaboration between three Kiwanis clubs. Petersburg Lunch was the parent of this event. It’s been a great success!”

Added Petersburg Kiwanis Breakfast Club president Lauren Barboza, “Every year our community partnerships grow which makes it possible to support our service initiative to support children in our community.”

Dinwiddie Kiwanis Club president Stephanie Wray stated, “This is our third year being involved and it’s the best year yet. I don’t know if it has to do with the weather, but people seem to be really be getting some enjoyment out of it. It’s exciting to see all these faces. They’re supporting the children in our community.”

Among the many volunteers at the event were area students. One of them was Ashanti Jordan a student at Appomattox Regional Governor’s School and a member of the Key Club.

 “This is my first time at this event,” Jordan said. “It is really nice, and all the people are so kind. And it is great being able to support a group that supports a lot of other great causes.”

Kristi K. Higgins can be reached at 804-722-5162 or khiggins@progress-index.com.