Once again Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies hosted the Sevier County Food Ministry Fiesta. My parents and I decided to join the fun, and headed up to Gatlinburg after work on Monday. Unfortunately my husband is a poopy head Jay had to work and couldn’t join us, but I had enough fun for the both of us.

First we registered for door prizes, then it was time to peruse the silent auction items. I wanted to bid on these guys, but the home owner’s association of our community wouldn’t be too thrilled with them.

We didn’t take home anything from the auction, but it was fun to look through the items they had. A couple items interested me, but thankfully for the Ministry, the bid price went too high for me.

 The aquarium itself hasn’t changed much since the last time we were there, so we didn’t spend a ton of time on the exhibits. I did, however, enjoy snapping several pictures as we walked through.

I attempted a family selfie on the shark-tank conveyor belt, but the area wasn’t light enough for the picture to turn out.

In addition to seeing all the featured creatures, my dad and I enjoyed the hands-on experience offered by this hard-shelled dude. My mother yelled to startle me right as I was about to touch it, so I got her back by flicking the water in her face.

A good hand washing later (as instructed by the signs surrounding this particular tank), and we were headed into the main hall to hit the buffet.

Thankfully the menu included ground beef and chicken, rather than marine life. (Although the final dish I did not partake of might have included shrimp).  As the event name suggests, the fare included tacos, nachos, rice and refried beans. I may or may not have gone back for a second helping of beans, queso, and nacho chips.

We ended up running into and enjoying dinner with my dad’s sister, his niece and her hubby (plus their baby twin grandkids) as well as another nephew with his wife and kids. Yes, you read that right. I have a first cousin with grandkids. His family is crazy-big, plain crazy, but also fun.

As we sat around talking, we heard the winners of the door prizes. My mom won a “penguin painting on a black background” we imagined something along the lines of a velvet Elvis, only replacing Elvis with a picture of a penguin.

Instead, she got this:

In case you couldn’t figure it out, that’s the artist MoMo on the right. And her (his?) painting on the left. Who knew penguin art was a thing?  Of course my smarty-pants father questioned if the white streaks were paint or penguin poop.

All-in-all, a fun night for a great cause!