July is here, and even though the Summer season is just underway, we are just a little over two months away from the Texas State Forest Festival presented by Brookshire Brothers.  Due to safety concerns with the ongoing pandemic, last year's event was transitioned to a one-day Fall event which took place on a November Saturday in Downtown Lufkin.

This year, however, the Forest Fest will once again return to the George H. Henderson, Jr. Expo Center on Ellen Trout Drive in Lufkin.  It will be a four-day event from September 16 through 19.

One of the signature events of the Texas State Forest Festival is the Southern Hushpuppy Championships presented by McWilliams & Son Heating and Air Conditioning.  This year's event will mark the 50th time that teams will be cooking up the best hushpuppies for the right to earn the championship trophy and the grand prize.

This year, the first place team will win $1,000.  The second place team will take home $500, and the third place finishers will win $250.  There will once again be a showmanship award with the team winning that receiving $500.

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Since this is the 50th annual Hushpuppy Championships, organizers are hoping the attraction of the prize money will draw at least 50 cook off teams to this year's event.  Even though we are still a couple months away, it's a good idea to go ahead and start getting your four-person team together and to finalize a recipe and schedule some rehearsal cooking sessions.  If you are going to challenge for the showmanship award, now is also good time to get your team theme together, and perhaps start brainstorming on costumes.

Here's a look at some of the past cook off teams from the Southern Hushpuppy Championships.

Hushpuppy Championships