Thursday, April 8, 2010

Shooting and Eating Gator by Jenny

I know what you’re thinking…you have to have special permits to hunt gator. Well when the Georgia Traveler crew shoots something we use a camera not a gun.

The trip began like any other…hopping in our Suburu Outback and driving the many miles to our next destination. David Z., Shane (photographer) and I (field producer) headed south on I-75 on what promised to be an exciting festival weekend.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous which put us all in good moods. We took a wrong turn in McRae and ended up going through Douglas and Pearson, Georgia. Sometimes wrong turns end up adding time and misery to our trips but driving through Douglas and Pearson was a wonderful experience.

Once we arrived in Waycross…home of the Swampfest, we checked into the hotel. The hotel the attendant excitedly told us that we would be rooming in the same hotel as the folks from the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show. We had already planned on shooting their show so we were happy that we would be staying at the same place!

We met up with Regina at the festival and things got busy. We shot a lot Friday including the Lumberjack Show and the Okefenokee Joe Show, both were very entertaining. The smell of fair food filled the air which made all three of us very hungry. David Z. tried gator on a stick and washed it down with a turkey leg that had been calling his name since our arrival. I wolfed down a hotdog but only because I could eat it and walk at the same time. We finished our shooting for the day by enjoying a live concert by Just June a local band from Moultrie, Georgia.

The next morning we headed out bright and early to the Okefenokee Swamp Park to film their most famous resident. Oscar the alligator is no longer swimming the dark waters but his bones are on display in the welcome center. After the Swamp Park the crew drove back to Swampfest to capture the competitions and the trains going through town. We succeeded at one but failed miserably at the other. We first tried to film trains going by the Train Depot…after a half hour of waiting for a train to come we reluctantly left to shoot the first competition of the day, the Dilly Bar Eating contest. Our timing could not have been worse…as soon as we began filming the kids eating Dilly Bars a train rolled by the depot!

After the children’s Dilly Bar Eating contest, Regina asked David if he would like to compete in the hotdog eating contest…after much prodding David agreed to compete. I was a little worried about him competing but he did just fine. He did not win but he did not get sick either. I count that as a win in our book, especially since he was only one hot dog off the winner…not too shabby for no warm up. There was one other competition, the coke chugging contest for both children and adults. I was very impressed to see a person guzzle a 2 liter coke in less than 2 minutes.

Many fun times at Swampfest, too many to write in one blog but the Georgia Traveler crew had an exciting time…we even ran into Lee and Bryce from the Lumberjack Show at breakfast in the hotel!

All I know is that April in the swamp is a wonderful time whether you’re visiting the alligators or the Swampfest.

* Swampfest is an annual festival held each year in Waycross, Georgia.