Mac Mayhem reigned throughout downtown Florence on Friday evening as crowds of people turned out for the mac-and- cheese event.
Ten chefs competed for the best mac and cheese dish. Seven community members judged the dishes for creativity and overall tastiness prior to the event at the Eastern Carolina Community Foundation office.
Victor’s won critic’s choice, and Wholly Smokin’ won most creative dish.
Miss Florence 2015 Kierra Carter was one of the judges, and she said macaroni is one of her favorite foods.
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“I was really elated to be here to taste the different macaroni choices,” Carter said.
Retha Brown with the city of Florence was another judge.
“The competition was quite interesting,” Brown said. “There was a variety. Some spicy, different. The one with the shrimp kind of stood out to me. It had a pop.”
Wholly Smokin’ won the best traditional award at last year’s mac and cheese event and Jackie Travis, one of the restaurant’s owners, said they were challenged this year.
“Chef Harwell thought of taking his French onion soup, which he’s well-known for, and creating a French onion soup with mac and cheese,” Travis said.
Victor’s executive chef and general manager, Cooper Thomas, created a creamy Cajun mac and cheese dish with fried lobster.
Other dishes included spinach, shrimp, potato chips, onion rings and roasted pork belly as ingredients.
Cale Yarborough Honda brought a car to the event filled with boxes of mac and cheese. People attending the event could guess how many boxes were in the car for a chance to win a $100 gas card. Sales consultant Brian Conner said it was just something the dealership was doing to try to help the community.
Other activities included a bounce house, frog toss, miniature golf, batting cage and photo booth. Speakeasy performed live music.
“I love that this year they had a kid’s zone,” Nancy Zimmerman said. “They had more than just mac and cheese.”
Restaurants like Victor’s included other food options such as stir fry. Some vendors sold funnel cakes and snow cones, among other foods and beverages.
“Last year was nice, but because they expanded the options, it’s a lot nicer,” Zimmerman said.
Proceeds from the event benefit the Harvest Hope Food Bank.