Ever had a hankering for some rabbit stew? What about some bear bites or perhaps some hot-off-the grill wild pig?
If any of those delicacies tempt your taste buds, or if curiosity of the cuisine has you yearning to try foods you’ve perhaps never partook of before, then look no further than Saturday’s annual Wild Game Cookout, an event that serves dual roles as both a family-fun adventure in eating and a fundraising for Sampson’s Friends of the Waterway group.
Both, said Josh McLamb, are good reasons to come join the fun on what promises to be a fun day of fellowship, complete with live music and perhaps a little dancing, coupled with some of what the Waterway member assures is the best tasting food anywhere around.
In fact, McLamb says people from miles around — hundreds of them, in fact — venture down to Sampson each year for the cookout, being held for the second year at Clinton’s City Market beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday.
“It promises to be a great time, with some great food,” McLamb attests, ticking off some of the fare that will be served up, complete with all the fixins. They’ll be bear and venison, rabbit and pig, crawfish and frog legs, quail and dove, just to name a few, served myriad ways — from stews and roasts to fried up morsels sure, he said, to whet any appetite.
“I highly recommend this to everyone,” McLamb stressed. “I’m urging everyone to come out and enjoy the day. The weather is supposed to be sunny and warmer, and I can promise the food will be some of the best you’ve ever eaten.”
And the atmosphere, he said, will be family-oriented, complete with toe-tapping bluegrass music and even a little clogging.
People have come from as far away as Virginia and South Carolina to enjoy the wild fare and support the Waterway groups efforts to keep Sampson’s rivers and streams maintained.
“There’s going to be quite a variety of eats Saturday, including all kinds of vegetables, everything from asparagus and sweet potatoes to rice and gravy. There’ll be something everyone can eat, I can promise you that.”
Waterway folks will start preparing the site — and some of the foods — around 9 a.m. Saturday, with tickets being taken up starting around 11 a.m. and the meal being served around noon, following an invocation and a thank-you from the group
There will be, McLamb said, door prizes given throughout the day, as well as a drawing for a Hurricane kayak, tickets for which have been sold throughout the year and will continue to be on sale up until the drawing Saturday.
The Wild Game Cookout has become an annual event, and one that has grown larger each and every year.
Started some 15 to 20 years ago, the cookout was first held at the home of Waterway founding member Ralph Hamilton, who has always liked to creatively serve up some of the wild game he has captured. Over time, McLamb said, the event has grown and the location moved to accommodate those who wanted to be a part, either cooking the vittles or eating them, in many cases doing both.
Last year, the venue was moved to the City Market, an area that brought more people and even more fellowship.
“There are a lot of people who love to hunt wild game and cook it up, too. You have some people who save up all year so they can cook for this event. Really, everyone loves wild game, and taking part in this is all about fun and some really good eating.”
Tickets for the cookout are $8 for adults and $4 for those 10 and under. Or, if you’re willing to cook up a wild delicacy of your own to share, that dish will provide one person a free meal.
The event, a mini-festival, of sorts, has become the Waterway group’s big fundraising of the year but, more than that, it has become a sought-after time where people can come together to enjoy each other’s company and enjoy some foods they don’t often get the chance to taste.
“Once it’s all prepared, we’ll put all the food on the tables and serve it up to people as they line up. That way everyone gets a chance to taste any and all of the different dishes they’d like.”
And the tastes, McLamb promises, will be those that make you want to come back for more.
“Some people may think wild game and go, hmm, I don’t know, but really, it’s a great treat. And if people would just try it, I can promise they’ll find something they like. After all, how often do you have the chance to eat wild game?”
The answer would be this Saturday, at the very least, and McLamb is hoping the City Market will be teeming with people.
“I’d love to see the place packed, I really would,” he said.
For more information on the event, contact Hamilton at 590-6281 or Cebron Fussell at 592-7373.