National Cornbread Festival Cooks Up Fun

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Broccoli Cheese Cornbread recipe

Nearly all year, the Lodge Cast Iron foundry is closed to the public. But on two special days – South Pittsburg’s annual Cornbread Festival – you can tour the state-of-the-art facility and have a grand time before and after.

The annual National Cornbread Festival, which is typically held the last full weekend in April, is fun, but it’s also a celebration with a mission. Worried about a local economy dampened by big shopping centers and a busy highway that bypassed the town, community leaders came up with the idea of an event to promote South Pittsburg and benefit charitable, civic, church and youth organizations from the proceeds in return for volunteering.

Besides saluting all things cornbread, the festival has helped scouts, athletics programs, building projects, education and the arts. Pittsburg’s now-thriving storefronts are a testament to how the festival has put the community on the map.

Besides Lodge factory tours, the festival offers great music, Miss Cornbread pageants, cook-offs, arts and crafts, a historic tour, a carnival, exhibits and a classic car show. No wonder 45,000 people attend each year.

“It’s hokey fun,” says Mark Kelly of Lodge Cast Iron. “And hokey is a good thing.”

Not able to make it to the Cornbread Festival? Check out these recipes from past winners of the 4-H Cast Iron Cook-off: Berry Delightful Cornmeal Cake, Country Cornbread Dressing


  1. Jessy Yancey

    March 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Hi Sue,

    I believe that Lodge only opens its foundry to tours during the Cornbread Festival, but you can ask them directly by contacting them on their website by clicking here. Good luck!

    Jessy Yancey
    managing editor
    Tennessee Home & Farm

  2. Gina Boyer

    April 25, 2013 at 5:02 am

    What happens if it rains? Will the festival still go on or will it be put off for another weekend?

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