Biscuit Fest: 2012

We’re at the International Biscuit Festival — one of the tastiest, best-laid-out, exciting new festivals in the South (and a little bit zany, too — judging from this Miss Biscuit contestant — Erin)!

But we only had about an hour and a half on this Saturday morning, May 19th, to taste and tour! 

You hafta get up pretty early in the morning “if’n ya wanna git the best biscuits” — so we did — and arrived around 7:45 A. M.!  We found out that’s the time to hit the Biscuit Festival in downtown Knoxville — before the more than 20,000 folks scarf up all those doughy delights! (A friend told us later that he arrived at 2:00, and there was little to be had.  So, mark that early morning time down for next year!)

First, this cute guide, Lauren, directed us down Biscuit Boulevard to pay $10.00 and line up for breakfast!

Then Kay Mayes, who long ago worked with Jim Walls (former Director of the Dogwood Arts Festival) and knows a thing or two about events of this size, pointed us to the line. This many people already? It’s only 8:00!

We stood in the tent, plate in hand, and let ’em layer us up with plain ol’ biscuits ‘n honey, cheddar and garlic biscuits, pimento cheese biscuits, and berry biscuits! Then we poured out orange juice and coffee and commenced the feast! Yum!

Meg Cockrum and Jack Welch (works for Gerdau on the Gay Street Bridge project) had fun building a tower with the creamer and napkins (told you this was a fun event!) while we just kept eating. 

And waiters kept bringing — seconds, thirds, or however much you wanted.

Outside the tented area, folks paid $5.00 so they could sample from 5 booths lining the street.  Then they were asked to vote for their favorite biscuit delight.  We might try that process next year, if we can just narrow our focus! 

Here are some of the offerings from booths on the street.  How would you decide which ones to pick?

Nashville Urban Gardens brought Cat-Head Biscuits — my favorite for presentation — along with a biscuit-eating boar, too!

Cinnamon Toast Crunch — a cinnamon and vanilla biscuit topped with a cinnamon sugar crunchy shell was the offering from Cafe 4!

There were long lines at the Benton’s Bacon booth! Is there anything better with biscuits than Benton’s?

Little Alex Sink loved the chocolate-filled biscuits from The Plaid Apron! He poked his finger in the hole in the top and offered us some of the oozy chocolate goodness!

Want some, he said?

Tupelo Honey Cafe won my vote with biscuits stuffed full of pimento cheese!

The folks from B 97.5 brought biscuits . . .

And so did NBC!

Cruze Farm girls offered something to wash it all down with at their Milk Bar . .

While Bruce Bogartz  of Rouxbarb set up a booth next door for his usual great gourmet fare!

And talk about accommodating! Tables were available in alleys, streets — well, in a lot of places!

But there’s more to the Biscuit Festival than just biscuits — believe it or not!

Here are

my favorite vendors

from our quick early-morning run-through.

Amy Campbell of Tennessee Folk Art does folk portraits of heroes and landmarks in Tennessee!

She suckered me in for an heirloom spinning gourd! Now, I can amaze my friends — or at least my granddaughter!

Three huge tents became the Biscuit Bookstore filled with cookbooks and other foodie publications!

Mary Constantine, whose blog Stirring the Pot appears in the Knoxville News-Sentinel, was on hand selling her cookbooks and talking Southern cooking in general. 

I told her how much I liked the recent article on Wisner Farm — and she pointed her finger thataway. And there they were, the Wisner family, just around the corner — with a copy of the article right there in the booth!

Gwen and Mo’s Chopping Blocks brought handcrafted cutting boards!

Kroger, yes Kroger, had gourmet cheeses like the one I sampled — Merlot Bellavitano — served on 34 ° Natural Wafers.  We’re headed to the Bearden store to check this out!

Murray’s brought cheese products, too!

Rushy Springs Farm sold hot sauces. I loved the handwritten labels!

The Loveless Cafe — a country cookin’ place in an old Nashville tourist court — spread out their goods with smiles all around!

Warrior King Pastries brought yummy goodness packaged beautifully. 

Just look at King Coconut: Moist buttery cake made with fresh coconut and filled with rich Mango butter!!! 

Colvin Family Farm got my vote for the tallest display and greatest varieties of spring lettuces.  Look at their turnips, bok choi, and cauliflower — fresh-picked and perfect!

I was very glad to meet Nancy Kendrick, the creator of Ms. Cock-a-Doodle’s chicken salad that I bought (and loved) at The Coop Cafe in the Knoxville Tourism & Sports Center when we lived downtown for a couple of weeks!  She gave me the best news:  She’s looking for a spot in West Knoxville to sell her many varieties of chicken salad!  Yay!

And if I hadn’t been heading to another event, I would have snapped up a tin can bouquet of delicate sweet peas from this booth that Claude Monet would have loved!!

We ended our tour listening to the sounds of Jimmy Brown Johnson and the Band of Awesome singing their original biscuit song! What a hoot!

Cheering on the lead singer (none other than Jimmy Brown Johnson himself) were his wife Christie and daughters Isabella (left) and Alana.  Son Drake was too preoccupied to stand still for this stuff!

Although our Biscuit Festival time was short, we managed to down more than a few biscuits, visit with vendors, and sway to the music! Not bad for a Saturday morning in downtown Knoxville!

International Biscuit Festival: http://biscuitfest.com/

 See ya’ll next year?

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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7 Responses to Biscuit Fest: 2012

  1. Chef Brandon Frohne says:

    Nice recap of Biscuit fest. We made the Peach Cathead Biscuits at Biscuitfest and just wanted to let all the kind folks who were writing about them that BiscuitFest misspelled the name to our food blog. It is actually Nashville Urban Gardeners.

    • Rusha Sams says:

      Thanks for your comment and for reading my blog! Thanks, too, for the information on your name — your website is most informative. I hope you saw The Blue Streak, Cynthia Moxley’s blog, about BiscuitFest. She selected your biscuit as one of the top ones there. I couldn’t agree more! Please come back!

  2. Pingback: Blue Streak » Who doesn’t love a biscuit?

  3. Jeanne Tapp says:

    great coverage! but you missed our bud Peter Glander at the Ruby Tuesday booth with garlic cheese biscuits from RT’s…they are yummy!!

  4. Janet says:

    A very rich survey of the Biscuit Festival. I will definately see you there next year! Thanks, Rusha!

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