As if you need another reason to visit the Savannah riverfront, The Westin is happy to give you one.

The fifth annual Gourmet Seafood & Spirits Festival takes place Aug. 9-12 at The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa. The four-day event welcomes celebrity chefs and restaurants and features flagship spirits as well as the popular AquaCurean Challenge competition highlighting local mixologists. Proceeds benefit the Savannah Harbor Foundation.

According to David Moses, area director of PR and communications at The Westin, last year’s festival welcomed more than 1,000 guests, but this year will be "bigger and better."


"The caliber of talent we have for this year's event is just phenomenal," he adds. "… It's another reason to come to Savannah and really enjoy the city we all love at a beautiful setting on the water."

The festival kicks off Aug. 9 with the Coastal Chef's Table, a five-course dinner pairing that features chef and cocktail demonstrations.

"Our executive chef Anthony Burdo will welcome the visiting chefs," Moses says. "And during the dinner, the chefs come out and describe their presentation as guests dine."

Some of the guest chefs include Nick Lahey of Atlanta's Hot Saltyard, Georgia Grown's executive chef Holly Chute, and Director of Culinary Arts for Certified Angus Beef Tony Biggs.

"It all takes place in our grand ballroom at the resort, and it's almost like a gala for the Savannah Harbor Foundation," Moses adds.

For those not familiar with the foundation, Moses says the group donates money each year to local organizations, family-oriented charities and scholarships. "We like to find those small organizations that make a powerful impact for the people they help."

The festival celebrates "life on the water" Aug. 10 with the Sweetwater Smokeout and Concert on the river lawn and esplanade of The Westin. Tickets include Lowcountry-style seafood, oysters and "amazing food on the Big Green Eggs," Moses says.

And country music fans will enjoy a concert by 20 Ride, billed as "America's No. 1 Zac Brown cover band."


Then on Aug. 11, guests can experience a "resort take-over" as chefs, mixologists and high-end spirit vendors come together for the AquaCurean Challenge. VIP passes include an on-dock experience at The Westin Marina and a special swag bag.

According to Moses, the AquaCurean Challenge showcases some of the best restaurants in the area and their bartenders. Tickets include limitless samples of food and spirits. There is also a competition where chefs showcase their best seafood recipes and bartenders compete with favorite cocktails.

Moses adds that 15 of Savannah's best restaurants will be present this year along with about 30 other food and spirit vendors.

The festival wraps up Aug. 1 with the Fresh Catch and Cocktails Jazz Brunch. Tickets for the second brunch seating are still available. Moses says brunch at The Westin is a foodie fan favorite and includes a variety of fresh seafood, breakfast buffet items, champagne and a bloody Mary bar. The event also features local favorite jazz musicians Jeremy Davis and the Fabulous Equinox Trio, and some of the participating chefs will be there to mingle with guests.