Downtown Knoxville packed ’em in on Biscuit Boulevard as the fifth annual International Biscuit Fest kicked off Saturday, May 17, 2014. Long lines of folks waited for fluffy, doughy creations filled with anything from pork belly to paw paws. About 25,000 (according to the headline article in the May 18th News-Sentinel) stood waiting for booths to open and serve what’s become a fine-eating, mid-May traditional breakfast around these-here parts.
It’s about People!
Potential diners started pouring in early, even though biscuits-makers waited to serve us at 9:00 AM. Didn’t matter, though. People “meeted and greeted” to pass the time and shared who the big winners were in years past.
County Commissioner Mark Campen, wife Emily, and their two children wanted a taste of Tupelo Honey’s Peach of a Chicken Biscuit, even if meant wrapping around three blocks to get one.
Alan Benton, owner of Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams, wasn’t waiting for anyone — he was just getting started frying those legendary country ham pieces to a golden brown.
Lisa Duncan, Director of the Dogwood Arts Festival, volunteered at the Southern Living booth where Pickle Biscuits made from the recipe in the April 2014 edition were free for the taking. (Click here for the recipe that they say tastes even better with a little ham and mustard!)
Communications Director at UT-Battelle David Keim held an empty plate as he searched for his next treat-worthy delight. On a mission. A biscuit mission.
And you could get free stuff, too, from people on the street. Like Papi Joe’s Tennessee Pepper Sauce served in those little cups we use for Communion at church! When I asked this guy about the cups, he replied, Yes taking a sip of this good stuff is a religious experience!
As it were, our next stop had to be the Lipton Iced Tea booth for something cool to wash it down!
It’s about Biscuits!
See, you get to pick 5 biscuits with your $10 ticket. But sometimes, with long lines and long waits, you just dart in to any booth to feast on what’s handy. Doesn’t matter. Everything we tasted was scrumptious! (Did I really eat 5 biscuits on one day? Yep. Did.)
Winning the award for Best Biscuit Booth, the ladies at Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop couldn’t work fast enough to create the biscuits hundreds of people waited for: Pork Belly & Pear Moonshine Biscuits. (Click here for our post on how they got their start.)
Over at the Applewood Farmhouse booth, a guy with a megaphone conned us into picking up their biscuits in a bowl — kinda like apple/biscuit cobbler, if you ask me. And a band from Asheville sitting right beside them kept us in a toe-tappin’ mood all through the long-but-worth-it wait.
Flourhead Bakery and the Tomato Head won the People’s Choice Award for their colorful creations — topped with a tomato, of course.
Capitol Grille had quite a following, too. Here’s a nice-looking Strawberry Rhubarb Buttermilk Biscuit for your picture, he said to me!
Folks in line at the Popeye’s booth just smiled as the crowd asked for more — like one of these biscuit hats to go along with their famous chicken biscuits! Wouldn’t you be happy wearing a biscuit hat, too?
And what about these two guys from Tupelo Honey Cafe workin’ up a sweat? Well, didn’t I say the lines were long? For good reason. Word was out that the marinated chicken in their Peach of a Chicken Biscuit was mile high. They couldn’t serve ’em fast enough.
The Plaid Apron filled their biscuits with Paw Paw Fruit. (According to a description we overheard them tell some patrons, it tastes like a cross between a mango and a banana. Worked for us.)
Our personal fave — and maybe because it was the last of our five, and we wanted something sweet — was a fluffy light biscuit with a creamy, sweet white sauce topped with a strawberry from Callie’s Charleston Biscuits. What a company! Biscuits, pimento cheese, cookbooks, and more. (You won’t believe what this company sells, so click here to see — so many biscuits, so little time!)
And if you didn’t get your fill of biscuits from the booths, food trucks like this one — Savory & Sweet — offered their own versions. We thought this Go Big Orange Biscuit had everything going for it locally, but we were just too full to try it! Next time.
It’s about Music!
If biscuits feed the body, music fills the soul. So it was with great anticipation that we gathered ’round for our friend Jimmy Brown Johnson and the Band of Awesome. They’ve made work (and fun!) of writing songs about biscuits and then standing on this old truck flatbed to deliver big band sound on the streets of Knoxville! Singing our favorite — Royal Redneck Wedding — they wowed the crowd again this year. Jimmy brought the Biscuit Fairies (a small band of precious winged children) who dropped red rose petals along Biscuit Boulevard as they joined the band in another original hit. It all just added to the awesomeness.
If you missed the International Biscuit Festival this year, check out the website for next year’s carbo-loading weekend. And if you attended this one, let us know what your favorites were. As Biscuit Boss John Craig said to the cameras, Who doesn’t love a biscuit?
For more information:
International Biscuit Festival: http://www.biscuitfest.com
Jimmy Brown Johnson and the Band of Awesome: Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jimmy.b.johnson.3?fref=ts
“People, biscuits fill downtown for fifth annual biscuit festival.” (May 18, 2014). Knoxville News-Sentinel. Retrived from http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2014/may/17/people-biscuits-fill-downtown-for-fifth-annual/
Click here for ‘The biscuit is America’s croissant’ by Cynthia Moxley, posted on her blog, The Blue Streak.
Vendors mentioned in this post:
Applewood Farmhouse & Farmhouse Grill: http://www.applewoodfarmhouserestaurant.com/
Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams: http://bentonscountryhams2.com/
Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop: http://buttermilk-sky.com/
Callie’s Charleston Biscuits: http://www.calliesbiscuits.com/collections/biscuits/
Capitol Grille Nashville: http://www.capitolgrillenashville.com/homepage.aspx
Lipton Tea: http://www.liptontea.com/
Papi Joe’s Tennessee Pepper Sauce: http://www.papijoes.com/
The Plaid Apron: http://www.theplaidaproncafe.com/
Southern Living Recipes April 2014: http://www.southernliving.com/food/kitchen-assistant/southern-living-april-2014-recipe-list
The Tomato Head: http://www.thetomatohead.com/
Tupelo Honey Cafe: https://tupelohoneycafe.com/knoxville