Every fall, thousands fill into the streets of Little Rock’s SoMa neighborhood to pay homage to that most Southern of foods: cornbread. Since 2011, the Arkansas Cornbread Festival has fed and entertained thousands with its good-natured culinary competition and entertainment.
Despite initially modest expectations, the festival has become an institution. And it’s no wonder – people love their cornbread. No less an authority than Mark Twain himself wrote a loving tribute to this savory yellow bread. (Being Mark Twain, he couldn’t resist throwing a jab at “the North” while he was at it. “Perhaps no bread in the world is quite as good as Southern corn bread, and perhaps no bread in the world is quite as bad as the Northern imitation of it,” he wrote.
Attendees can come out to enjoy the atmosphere and try out all of the competitors’ foods.
A host of competitors, both professional and amateur, will be serving up their best cornbread and sides. The professional teams include notable restaurants like The Root Café, Mockingbird Bar & Tacos, Community Bakery, Boulevard Bread Company, Allsopp and Chapple, 8311 Catering, DoubleTree Little Rock and Marriott Little Rock.
The amateur teams include KUAR/KLRE, Ruebel Funeral Home, the Junior League of Little Rock, Camp Quality Arkansas and more.
In addition to the tasty cornbread, there will be some great live musical performances to enjoy. Arkansas favorites like MaQuis Hunt, A Rowdy Faith, and Dazz and Brie will be performing. Here’s the schedule of performers during the festival:
11 am: MarQuis Hunt with percussionist Stephin Both
12 pm: Joynet Radio Network presents: Torrey Dulaney, Grace Justified and Amanda Armstrong
1 pm: A Rowdy Faith
2 pm: Dazz and Brie
The 2019 Arkansas Cornbread Festival will be held Saturday, Oct. 26, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Little Rock’s South Main (SoMa) neighborhood.
Admission to the festival is free. Tasting tickets, which allow attendees to sample and vote on all of the cornbread and side dishes in the festival, can be purchased. The tasting tickets are $8 in advance and $10 the day of the festival. There is also a “cornbread connoisseur package,” which includes a tasting ticket, a cornbread tin, a Cosmo Cornbread koozie and a bottle opener. This limited package is $15 in advance and $20 at the festival. Purchase tickets here.
Images courtesy of Arkansas Cornbread Festival