The clock is ticking down to South Pittsburg, Tenn.'s 17th annual National Cornbread Festival, and officials have announced early plans and are hinting at some new additions.
Festival President Beth Duggar said organizers start rallying their energy as soon as the holidays and the BCS Championship game are past.
"Now it's cornbread time," Duggar said Friday. The festival is set for April 27 and 28.
"We're gathering recipes and getting entertainers together. We're well under way," she said, noting a new recipe that caught her eye, "jumping bean cornbread," among the entries in the festival's Cornbread Alley where the competition cooks show their stuff.
Although plans still are being developed for some activities, Duggar said the newly remodeled Princess Theater will play a larger role this year.
"We used it last year a little bit, but you can expect a lot more entertainment to be booked over the whole two days," she said. The entertainment lineup will be announced through the festival website at nationalcornbread.com, she said.
The "jamming tent" is drawing more musicians than ever, and Duggar predicts that crowd will be the biggest ever, depending on the weather.
Marketing co-chairwoman Kim Mantooth said organizers are "ready for the crowds."
Vendor applications are already in and there will be at least as big a lineup of crafts and food as last year, Mantooth said.
Entries for the competition cook-off is open until the end of February. It's open to anyone with an original recipe, following the rules available on the festival website, she said.
There also will be a 5K road race, with registration beginning at 7 a.m. April 27. Participants can register ahead, too, to save time, she said.
Mantooth said previous festivalgoers won't see any changes in parking locations. Any changes or additions will be posted on the festival website.
The website is updated at least once or twice a day, she said.
Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...