Gather up the whole family and bring your appetites to Gatlinburg next Thursday, May 12, 2016. At Gatlinburg’s third annual Beans and Cornbread Festival you will find sweet and savory beans and cornbread, along with a heaping helping of Appalachian culture and hospitality. Sponsored by Bush Brothers and Company, the largest producer of canned baked beans in the country, the event will feature a bean and cornbread cook-off. Area restaurants will compete for top honors with recipes featuring Bush beans. In addition, the festival will present a performance by country music artist Tara Thompson.
The festival takes place between 5 and 8 p.m. on the Parkway in Gatlinburg between traffic lights 6 and 8. There is no charge for admission, but to partake in the tasting a spoon can be purchased for 10 dollars. You may sample to your heart’s, or your stomach’s content until all the vendors empty their bean pots and bread pans. Children 7 years and under may sample for free.
Bush Beans are the signature product of the canning company founded by A. J. Bush in nearby Chestnut Hill. The founder’s motto “Quality is the best policy” lives on in the popularity of their broad product line. Now based near Knoxville, the company offers tours at its visitor’s center twenty-five miles from Gatlinburg. The visitor’s center is housed in the original country store founded by A. J. Bush in 1897.
Tara Thompson is a young newcomer to the country music scene. A third cousin to country music legend Loretta Lynn, her heritage in country royalty shines through tunes adapted to current times. Rolling Stone magazine identifies her sound as “Loretta Lynn for the Instagram generation.” She describes herself as “a hillbilly from East Tennessee,” and she earned her stripes in the music business playing bars and honky-tonks across her home state. After she gained notice covering classics by the likes of Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline, she has since moved on to her own original slices of Tennessee life encapsulated in a country format with modern approaches. Her music will complement the old-time Appalachian feel of the festival. Her performance will be a salve for the satiation the family has enjoyed with all the beans and cornbread.
In addition to beans and cornbread the Gatlinburg area has numerous attractions to whet your appetite. Nearby destinations include year-round activities at Ober Gatlinburg ski area and amusement park, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium and Gatlinburg’s Space Needle, which offers a panoramic view of the surrounding area after an elevator ride 400 feet up to the observation deck.
Come visit us in Gatlinburg for the sights, sounds and flavor of genuine Appalachia! The Bean and Cornbread Festival takes place on Thursday, May 12, 2016.