That's advice from Lynn Kennedy, the City of Sumter events coordinator and chairwoman of Sumter Green, who has been organizing Sumter Green's annual Fall Feast since it started in 2004. A glance at the event's menu might make it difficult to decide what to sample, so she advises getting to University of South Carolina Sumter's Nettles Building early - the feasting starts at 6 p.m. and continues until 9 on Thursday, Sept. 21 - scope out what you want most and then visit those booths first.
It's a plan, but Kennedy said the feast will offer dishes you might not have had before, and it's the perfect opportunity to try them. Think the more exotic alligator, frog legs and goat.
"There is a great variety," she said. "Fried fish, fried oysters, drunken collards, some kind of bog, crab legs, boiled peanuts, shrimp, barbecue, beef and pork ribs ... ."
The list of cooks is quite impressive, too, Kennedy noted. Among them are the team of Kelly Jackson, Jamie Campbell and Dale Atkinson.
"You never know what they're going to do," she said. "In the past they've had alligator and frog legs."
Jonathan Flinchum will be cooking duck, and Jonathan Teseniar, representing FTC, like several others has not announced his dish. Mike Dellinger of the Farm Store will be serving goat, "highlighting his blueberry barbecue sauce he makes himself," Kennedy said.
Other participants include Willie Sue's, Sonic, Tropical Paradise, Sawgrass Electric Co., Palmetto Pigeon Plan, Catering for All Occasions, Clemson Extension Service, Mike's Spicy Sauces, Logan's Roadhouse, Southern Pride with their "famous ranch beans," O'Donnell House, Hamptons, Side Bar, Sertoma Club with chicken wings and many others. The Sumter Police Department will be serving "walking tacos," which include chili and corn chips and all the fixings.
Beverages are also included in the price of admission to the "adults-only" party.
Chick-fil-A will have iced tea, the City of Sumter will serve water, Mac's Spirits will have wine, and H&S Wholesalers will serve beer.
In addition to the wide variety of food offerings, Kennedy said "It's also a great date night and a time to socialize with friends." She said the live music provided by JD and the Breeze will also represent diverse genres, from oldies and rock 'n' roll to beach music and more.
Kennedy noted that the Feast is also a multigenerational event: "We have folks in their 20s to folks in their 80s."
She said Fall Feast will take place both outside on the lawn behind the Nettles Building and inside, with desserts served in the lobby.
"We'll have the feast rain or shine," she said. "We can move inside, if necessary."
Kennedy added that "We're still looking for some more sweets." Call her at (803) 774-1659 for more information.
Tickets for Sumter Green Fall Feast are $35 in advance, $45 at the door, if any are available. They can be purchased for cash only at Let's Party and Danny's Trophy Shop, both on Bultman Drive, and at the Swan Lake Visitors Center with cash or major credit card. Adults 21 and older only will be admitted.