Cornbread, seafood star in Chattanooga-area weekend festivals

Staff File Photo by Matt Hamilton / Rob Woodfin makes chocolate cornbread fritters at the Christ Church Episcopal booth in Cornbread Alley during the second day of the National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, Tenn., on April 24, 2022.

Festivalgoers can feast on cornbread and seafood this weekend, but, alas, not at the same place.

The inaugural Chattanooga Seafood Bash on the River is set for Friday through Sunday at Coolidge Park, while the National Cornbread Festival marks its 26th year Saturday and Sunday in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.

They're among four festivals around the region this weekend. Here are details.

(READ MORE: Chattanooga Market, bird walks, Jill Scott, Brett Young highlight area weekend events)

— Chattanooga Seafood Bash on the River promoters are hopscotching north to Coolidge Park, 150 River St., after similar festivals in Young Harris and Powder Springs, Ga., proved popular. While the focus is on seafood — everything from soft-shell crab to shrimp to lobster — the festival will include vendors that cater to landlubbers, along with beer and wine gardens, live music, arts and crafts. Hours are 5-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, though there is a VIP option for $70 Friday, which includes a cruise on the Southern Belle, $30 Saturday or Sunday.

(READ MORE: Chattanooga Seafood Bash coming in April with live music, art, 30 food vendors)

— National Cornbread Festival has already cranked up the heat in South Pittsburg, with a weeklong carnival underway. Officially, the festival runs 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday (all times CDT), though locals know to turn out for a block party and fireworks Friday night. The weekend schedule is filled with cooking contests, music, tours of the Lodge Manufacturing Co. foundry and historic homes, a 5K run and fondo bike ride, children's activities and an array of foods. Two country acts headline the entertainment: Dillon Carmichael at 6 p.m. Saturday, The Kentucky Headhunters at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 for one day, $15 for two (free for preschoolers). Cornbread Alley, offering samples of cornbread-inspired foods prepared by local organizations, has a separate $8 admission. To reach South Pittsburg, take Exit 152A or 152B of Interstate 24 and follow the signs.

(READ MORE: South Pittsburg marks 150th anniversary in 2023)

— Normalpalooza is an arts and music festival presented by Normal Park Museum Magnet School, 1009 Mississippi Ave. Not surprisingly, the Kids Zone is a major focus of the event, which runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. But there's plenty to interest the adults in tow, including live bands and a vendor marketplace of more than 40 local businesses and artisans. The all-access youth pass is $25 through Friday, $30 at the gate. It grants entry to all games and activities, as well as one adult general admission stamp ($5 for other adults in the party). Children also may enter for free and purchase $1 individual tickets to take part in the games and activities, which require one to five tickets per turn.

(READ MORE: Normal Park Museum Magnet School wins STEM grant from TVA)

— Vintage Pickin' Spring Market, offering antiques, home decor, jewelry, clothing and food from 75 vendors, is Friday and Saturday at the VFW Fairgrounds, 151 18th St. NE, Fort Payne, Ala. Early entry is 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, costing $18 if purchased by midnight Thursday, $20 at the gate. Regular hours are 2-6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday (all times CDT). General admission either day is $8 with advance purchase, $10 at the gate.

Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281.

  photo  Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Jefferson County resident Ainsley Smith, 11, makes a cornbread dish with bacon, cheese and beans as part of a cornbread cooking competition during the second day of the National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, Tenn., on April 24, 2022.