Cornbread Festival Helps Revitalize S. Pittsburg

REPORTING: MICHAEL EDWARD MILLER

Searching for the most unusual slice of cornbread I would ever taste, I went to the 15th Annual National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, TN.  But I discovered that despite the name, the festival is about more than just cornbread.  It’s about revitalizing South Pittsburg and ensuring a future for this small Tennessee town.

Listen to the story.

The entrance to Cornbread Alley.

Different groups serve different types of cornbread in Cornbread Alley.

From the festival’s Web site:

The National Cornbread Festival was an idea that came about from a group of local leaders and citizens concerned about the pride in their community and the long term future of South Pittsburg, TN. They decided to start a “Grand Annual Festival” to promote the sights, sound, taste, people and history of South Pittsburg by allowing its citizens to volunteer, the civic organizations and churches to participate and share in the rewards of the festival. Because of the erosion of the tax base in our small town of 3,500 people caused by the big shopping centers and a heavily traveled corridor built to by pass our city, we knew that “helping ourselves” was our only hope.

Since the Festival began we have landscaped streets, helped build ball fields, supported boy scouts, schools, churches, given to theaters, day care, libraries, and improved our community immensely. People come from everywhere to see the sights and hear the music, feel the history and taste the cornbread that is cooking in our town. We have seen our “closed” buildings be occupied with restaurants and new stores, our small town has come back to life. More than that the people take great pride in show casing their very best, the last weekend in April as others come from all over to see “What’s Cooking” in South Pittsburg, TN.

Musicians play bluegrass on the sidewalk.

The festival features a carnival with a Ferris wheel.

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