Guest blogger alert!! Today’s blog post is by none other than Sweetums (aka my hubby Wil Elrick). We recently spoke together at a class on Quirky South and I decided to share some of Sweetums’ vast knowledge about the South with my readers. The following is his review of the National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, Tenn. This year’s event will be April 27-28, 2019. Next week, I’ll share an excerpt from his book, “Alabama Lore.” To order a book or contact Sweetums, email email@example.com.
WARNING: Before reading further you should know Sweetums is a Southerner who does not eat cornbread. I know, y’all. But I married him anyway.
By Wil Elrick
Being a southerner comes with a few preconceived notions, and one of those is that we all like corn bread. This is mostly true except in my case. I admit it I am a southerner who doesn’t like cornbread. People are typically shocked with the revelation. So more than a few eyebrows raised when I said I was attending the National Cornbread Festival in nearby South Pittsburgh, Tennessee.
Not being a fan of the festival’s main attraction, my sites were set pretty low but when the day came, my enjoyment was quite high. It turns out liking cornbread is not a prerequisite for attendance because there was plenty to keep me occupied. Here are just a few of the highlights.
I am a fan of Lodge cast iron cookware, so being a part of the factory tour was great. Tours are only open during the Cornbread Festival, so that by itself is a reason to make the trip. I got to listen to several different types of music such as country, rock, folk and bluegrass. While all the artists were local or regional, each I saw was quite entertaining.
Being a supporter of local crafts, walking through the extensive artists’ marketplace introduced me to some fine southern Appalachia creations. South Pittsburgh has always been a dot on the road for me, but the civic pride and involvement displayed at the festival made me learn more about the town and gave me a new appreciation for the area.
I was shocked at the massive attendance which easily surpassed 25,000 (about 10 times the population of the town). As I experienced the festival and saw all of the various activities I understood why the National Cornbread Festival is so popular, there truly is something for everyone.
Even though I do not care for dish, I still got sucked into the action and drama of the cornbread cook-off. And last but not least, Cornbread Alley which is the area where you can taste more cornbread than you can shake a stick at. Being the adventuress type, I gave my money and went on in convinced that I would finally find a cornbread to tickle my fancy. After trying all the exotic concoctions and flavors (which people loved and fawned over) I must say that I really liked the hush puppies they had.