Knoxville’s Biscuit Fest just keeps getting butter and butter!

T-shirt, Buttermilk Sky Pie ShopDowntown 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.

Big crowds for Biscuit Fest

 

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.

Mark Campen & family

Commisioner Mark Campen, wife Emily and their children wait for Tupelo Honey to open their booth.

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.

Alan Benton cooks his world-famous country ham

Alan Benton cooks his world-famous country ham

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!)

Lisa Duncan, Director of Dogwood Arts Festival, volunteers at Southern Living booth

Lisa Duncan, Director of Dogwood Arts Festival, volunteers at Southern Living booth

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.

David Keim on a biscuit mission

David Keim on 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!

"It's a religious experience," says Papi Joe's Tennessee Pepper Sauce volunteer.

“It’s a religious experience,” says Papi Joe’s Tennessee Pepper Sauce volunteer.

As it were, our next stop had to be the Lipton Iced Tea booth for something cool to wash it down!

Free tea for me and thee!

Free tea for me and thee!

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.)

Preparing Pork Belly & Pear Moonshine Biscuits:  Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop

Preparing Pork Belly & Pear Moonshine Biscuits: Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop

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!

Passing out Capitol Grille's Strawberry Rhubarb Buttermilk Biscuits with a smile!

Passing out Capitol Grille’s Strawberry Rhubarb Buttermilk Biscuits with a smile!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

Passin' out Popeye's!

Passin’ out Popeye’s!

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.

Piling the chicken high on Tupelo Honey Cafe biscuits

Piling the chicken high on Tupelo Honey Cafe biscuits

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.)

Plaid Apron employees explain what paw paw fruit is.

Plaid Apron employees explain what paw paw fruit is.

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!)

Callie's ladies show off cookbooks, products, and great biscuits!

Callie’s ladies show off cookbooks, products, and great biscuits!

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. 

Go Big Orange Biscuit from Savory & Sweet food truck

Go Big Orange Biscuit from Savory & Sweet food truck

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?

John Craig, Biscuit Boss

John Craig, Biscuit Boss of International Biscuit Festival

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/

Related blogs:

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 Grillhttp://www.applewoodfarmhouserestaurant.com/

Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hamshttp://bentonscountryhams2.com/

Buttermilk Sky Pie Shophttp://buttermilk-sky.com/

Callie’s Charleston Biscuitshttp://www.calliesbiscuits.com/collections/biscuits/

Capitol Grille Nashville: http://www.capitolgrillenashville.com/homepage.aspx

Lipton Teahttp://www.liptontea.com/

Papi Joe’s Tennessee Pepper Saucehttp://www.papijoes.com/

The Plaid Apronhttp://www.theplaidaproncafe.com/

Popeyeshttp://popeyes.com/

Southern Living Recipes April 2014: http://www.southernliving.com/food/kitchen-assistant/southern-living-april-2014-recipe-list

The Tomato Headhttp://www.thetomatohead.com/

Tupelo Honey Cafe: https://tupelohoneycafe.com/knoxville

 

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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14 Responses to Knoxville’s Biscuit Fest just keeps getting butter and butter!

  1. FreeRangeCow says:

    Besides missing the smells, I feel as if I was right there with you. Thanks for such a detailed and lovely post, Rusha!

  2. Pingback: Blue Streak » “The biscuit is America’s croissant.”

  3. LuAnn says:

    My mouth was watering just reading this post Rusha! 🙂

  4. A biscuit festival – bury me there Rusha. I grew up in KY, and of course, nobody on the planet makes biscuits like my Mama did. But there may be a few people out there that run a close second, and this festival looks like a good place to look for contenders. It’s breakfast time here, and your photos (as they say in KY) “are starvin’ me to death.” ~James

    • Rusha Sams says:

      Eat hearty, James. I want someone to weigh as much as I do after pigging out at Biscuit Fest! Your Mama’s are still the best, of course, but most of us don’t remember such exotic “innards” in our biscuits as we saw at the festival. We had butter and jelly, and that was about it!

  5. Amy says:

    Wow, delicious biscuits! You’re right, people make the fun festival!

  6. suzjones says:

    In Australia, a biscuit is what you know as a cookie so this is something new to me. They sort of look like what we call scones.
    And paw paw is lovely. We have a tree in our back garden. I think you guys call them papaya 😉

  7. Rusha Sams says:

    We do, too. The best place in town for that combination is Tupelo Honey Cafe. If you can’t get to Knoxville or Asheville, NC to try them, go to their website. You can at least order the honey! Thanks for reading!

  8. I’m jealous! I love, love, LOVE biscuits! Especially with fresh honey! 😀

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