We came across the annual National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, Tennessee and we were simply in awe of their heart and the drive behind the whole shebang. There are folks who come from miles around, STATES around to throw their cornbread baking hats in the ring, bringing recipes from generations before and tastebuds just dying for something new. Learn a little bit about this neat festival, and the heartwarming story behind it.
You can find South Pittsburg in the Sequatchie Valley, and it sits not very far from Chattanooga. Or Nashville! If you're looking to drive, of course. The last weekend in April plays host to the festival every year, and it's come to be the true celebration of spring.
People REALLY visit from all over the place. You'll find folks from Washington and Maryland, cornbread-lovers that hail from the swamps of Louisiana to the snowy fields of Maine. The weekend-long celebration is packed to the hilt with events like the annual cornbread cook-off and wildly popular cornbread alley.
We put this in here so you can get an idea of what AMAZING deliciousness comes out of this small Tennessee hamlet every April. With fare like this, we may just never leave...
You're looking at $7 to get into the Cornbread Fest, and it warrants you six free samples. BUT, for $5 more, you can head down Cornbread Alley, the real goldmine of the festival. Nine more samples of warm cornbread? Who would pass that up?
The most popular and highly regarded event is the National Lodge® Cast Iron Cornbread Cook-Off. The winner receives $5,000 AND a new stove. You may have seen something of the like in the movie, "The Prizewinner" - but this? This is the real deal.
Nice work, winners! Also note the cast-iron crown. GOLD.
One of the neatest things behind the festival is the whole heart of it. The idea was dreamt up in 1996 by a group of locals that wanted to make a difference. The festival features the local Lodge Manufacturing company, and all money raised by the festival is poured right on back into South Pittsburg. It has resulted church, theater and library donations, newly paved streets and even towards the support of local daycares.
It's a festival with a heart, and in this day and age it's the heart that really matters. If you're looking to visit this year, the dates are from April 29th to the 30th, with hours ranging from 9-6pm on Saturday and 9-5pm on Sunday. Have fun!