We hope you’re ready to do some serious eating. Thanks to these four words – The Arkansas Cornbread Festival – you’ll be enjoying a ton of the Southern staple later this month.
This year the SOMA festival will be bigger and better than ever. On Saturday Oct. 29 the sixth installation of this outdoor event will take place along South Main Street. Gear up for music, a craft market, food trucks, family fun, and a ton of cornbread.
This year, alongside the competition, vendors will sell Arkansas art, handmade crafts, clothes, jewelry, home furnishings, and gifts of all sorts. Musical acts Buffalo Gals and Big Still River will provide entertainment. There will also be a Cornbread Kids’ Own Zone under the pavilion at the Bernice Garden as well as a vintage motorcycle show put on by Moto Arkansas.
As always, there will be an amateur and professional cornbread contest with a chance to win multiple prizes in both categories – and more than that – bragging rights. A panel of celebrity judges will help narrow down the entries for the coveted first prize.
The competition starts at noon and lasts until 3 p.m. with the awards announced shortly thereafter at 3:30 p.m. Prizes include: Amateur Categories – First Place, $1,000; Second Place, $500; Best Side Dish, $250; and Professional Categories – First Place, $1,000; Second Place, $500; and Best Side Dish, $250.
Those who enter will need to be prepared to provide a minimum of seven 9 1/2” x 11” pans of cornbread – or roughly the equivalent of a tablespoon serving for 3,500 people. You’ll want to hurry, as spaces are limited. For more information on entering, including vendor and competitor applications, visit the website.
Don’t miss a new supporting event leading up to the festival this year – “Food Culture And Community: Readings By UALR Contest Winners.” Put on in conjunction with the Arkansas Cornbread Festival, the UALR Department of English, and co-author of ‘Soul Food Love’ Caroline Randall Williams, the evening will celebrate southern food and culture. Guests will hear selected works from a UALR student and alumni writing contest, engage with Caroline Randall Williams, and enjoy southern bites and drinks available for purchase. The event is open to the public and will take place on Oct. 27 from 5 – 7 p.m. at the Bernice Gardens.
To submit, you must be a UALR student or alumni – undergraduate or graduate. Submissions should be less than 1000 words and contestants may submit no more than two pieces to be judged. The deadline is 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17, and the entries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Winning selections will be published in Rock City Eats as well as displayed at the UALR English Department sponsorship booth at the festival. Good luck!
This year’s Festival will benefit the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Our House and studioMAIN. Get tickets here.