Down in the southeastern corner of the state, right on the Tennessee River in South Pittsburg, is a yearly festival dedicated to that undeniably southern staple that, while cooked according to thousands of varying family recipes, has only one name - cornbread.
The 20th annual National Cornbread Festival is being held this Friday through Sunday (4/22-4/24) and is less than a 2 ½- drive from Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; and Atlanta, Georgia. Partially centered around the world-renowned cook wear manufacturers Lodge Cast Iron, a company that calls South Pittsburg home, this is an event that could hardly be held in any other part of the world.
Now, South Pittsburg brings international caliber talent down for the weekend, and I don't just mean the cookin'. There will be more than 40 musical guests performing throughout the weekend, with multi-Grammy winner Ricky Skaggs and his band Kentucky Thunder headlining the festival on the First Volunteer stage on Saturday night.
The festival officially opens the night before 6 p.m. Friday, April 22, with Tennessee classic-rockers Legacy taking the stage for the Street Dance. After the sun goes down, the skies over South Pittsburg will be lit up with a massive fireworks display.
Saturday morning, the festival picks back up where it left off, with an all-day lineup of events ranging from a 5k run and walk, cornbread cookoffs, a classic car cruise-in and tours of the Lodge Foundry Plant, just to name a few.
Gate admission for the National Cornbread Festival is $5 per person (preschool aged children and younger get in free) which includes access to the concert stages.
Festival goers and visitors from out of town should note that South Pittsburg is on Central Time (CST), even though nearby Chattanooga is on Eastern Time.