Larger than expected crowd at Cornbread Festival | Rock Candy

Larger than expected crowd at Cornbread Festival

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SO MANY PEOPLE:  Folks at the Arkansas Cornbread Festival.
  • Kat Robinson
  • SO MANY PEOPLE: Folks at the Arkansas Cornbread Festival.
It's over... at least for this year. The inaugural Arkansas Cornbread Festival, which was expected to bring in 800-1000 people? Brought in more than 3000 people. Maybe as many as five thousand. Who can tell? The numbers aren't all in.

Main Street was swarmed with cornbread lovers for hours today. There were lines of folks ready to pay their $5 to get in at 11 a.m. and there was a sea of people from one end of the festival to the other, listening to great music and consuming mass quantities of cornbread and all sorts of other things.

So, how'd things turn out? Terry Wright won the overall competition, taking the titles for best traditional amateur, best amateur and best overall cornbread for his "Cracklin' Cornbread." The folks with Old South Cornbread out of El Dorado won the best professional and the best professional traditional categories and will go on to represent the state of Arkansas with cornbread at the New Orleans Roadfood Festival next March. There was, surprisingly, no sweet cornbread winner. The other winners:

Best Amateur Traditional: Terry Wright
Best Amateur Non-Traditional: Johnny Reep
Best Amateur Sweet: Ramona Cash

Best Professional Traditional: Old South Cornbread
Best Professional Non-Traditional: Loblolly Creamery

I gotta tell you, about that last one — Loblolly Creamery did this one amazing sweet cornbread and served it up with berries and homemade buttermilk ice cream... oh my.

Something else. Though the crowd was far larger than expected, the first competitor didn't run out of cornbread until 1 p.m. — two hours after the event started. Most of the folks who competed brought plenty of extra cornbread.

And there was all the other free food too — free hot cocoa, free ham and free jalapeno cheddar pork and venison sausage, free rice, free gingerbread, free buttermilk and tea and muscadine juice. So much food. Of course, by the time the event wrapped up at 4 p.m. there was so very little left, and what was left over was donated here and there.

More later... when I recover. If I do.

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