The National Cornbread Festival is set to return this year after being canceled the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s festival will be held in South Pittsburg on April 23rd and April 24th.

The festival, which began in 1996, is highlighted by a cook-off that draws 10 finalists from across the U.S. to create a main-dish cornbread recipe. The festival will also include a Cornbread Alley of cornbread-inspired foods made by community groups, more than 50 musical acts on five stages, 100 arts and crafts vendors, children’s activities, a 5K race, and a carnival. This year, the festival is also introducing a Gran Fondo long-distance bike ride.

To mark its 125th anniversary in 2021, Lodge Manufacturing awarded the festival $125,000 in October, according to Yahoo News. Lodge, the oldest cast-iron cookware manufacturer in the country, has two foundries in South Pittsburg and has been a primary sponsor of the festival since 1997. In addition, Lodge will continue to open its doors to the public this year for the National Cornbread Festival. Guests are able to take a free tour through the cast iron foundry. Employees of Lodge walk guests through the foundry, giving them a step-by-step lesson on how and where Lodge Cast Iron cookware is made.

On April 23rd, the festival will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CDT while on April 24th, the festival will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CDT. Admission to the festival is $10, with the option to buy a two-day pass for $15, and Cornbread Alley samples cost an additional $8. There is no admission cost for preschool children. No pets are allowed at the festival, except for service dogs.

All proceeds generated from the festival are distributed into the community through donations and other improvement projects.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “The National Cornbread Festival” by The National Cornbread Festival.