Rotary Club of Tryon holds 21st Annual Shrimpfest

Published 11:57 am Monday, September 18, 2023

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A night of delectable dining and philanthropy at Landrum Farmers Market


LANDRUM—The Rotary Club of Tryon hosted its 21st annual Shrimpfest on Friday, September 15. The theme of the event was “to create hope in the world.”

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The Rotary Club has its origins in 1905 in Chicago. Its creators were four men who rotated from office to office for meetings, hence how the club gained its name. The original members wanted to perform community services and their first project was to install public bathrooms in downtown Chicago. Calling themselves Rotarians, there are currently 1.4 million club members worldwide, located in over 200 countries.  The philanthropic organization’s motto is “service above self.”

Previously held at Harmon Field’s open-air gym, this year’s Shrimpfest took place at the Landrum Farmers Market, located at 103 Randolph Ave. in Landrum. This year, shrimp, sausage and brats were served, along with corn on the cob, potatoes, salads, various sides and homemade desserts. There was also beer, wine, soft drinks and water. Approximately 300 community members attended the event. 

The Interact Club, Polk County High School’s chapter of the Rotary Club, was also in attendance to help serve and clean up afterward. 

The Interact Club, Polk County High School’s Chapter of the Rotary Club, volunteered at the
event. Pictured from left to right are Riley Ballentine, James Purtill, Carly Holland, Jasin Roman, Santiago Alviar, Zulem Ramirez and Gabriel Mejia. (Photo by Grant Langston)

“I volunteer because I like to see my impact on the community and help the community grow,” said the Interact Club’s James Purtill.

Aaron Greene DJ’ed the event, with Pam Stone performing stand-up comedy. Michael Baughman acted as auctioneer, auctioning off a week-long vacation stay at a beach house in Charleston at Folly Beach and two dinner packages, raising nearly $6,000.

“The Rotary Club is very special to me,” said attendee Kathy Gruhn. Gruhn explained that in college, she lost the ability to pay her tuition. Her supervisor then suggested writing a letter to the Rotary Club regarding her situation. “The Rotary Club picked up my whole tab; my books, my dorm room, everything. So the Rotary Club is a very special organization in my heart.” Gruhn added.

Shrimpfest attendees Betty Hill, Kathy Gruhn and Ann Meadham. (Photo by Grant Langston)

“The proceeds of the event go into our Rotary Club of Tryon foundation,” said past club President and current President of Shrimpfest Carol Browning. “Proceeds will then be given back out to local organizations to achieve their mission, and to some of the worldwide projects of Rotary International such as Polio Plus and Shelter Box, USA.”