International Cowpea Festival And Cook-Off Set For Sept. 13, In Charleston, Tn.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Charleston, Tn., will present the third annual International Cowpea Festival and Cook-off on September 13, 2014. The Cowpea Festival, sponsored by Bush Brothers & Company, is rooted in the area’s authentic agricultural heritage, as Charleston was once known as the cowpea capital of the United States because of the large amount of peas grown in the area and shipped to markets far and away. “Cowpea” is the general name for the crowder pea, black-eyed pea, cream pea, silver-hull and other field pea varieties known as vigna unguiculata.

“This unique festival is a great way to recognize an authentic agri-heritage, as well as a protein-rich food that is a big part of our Southern diet,” said Darlene Goins, treasurer for the Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society and festival co-chair. “Charleston is just full of surprises, and the fact that the small community was a major exporter of this staple on our tables is another interesting chapter in Charleston’s story.”

The festival cook-off, which is sponsored by Whirpool Corporation, will feature professional chefs preparing recipes using a variety of Bush Brothers cowpeas. Bush Brothers & Company, a 106-year-old canning company that started in Chestnut Hill, Tenn., features several varieties of cowpeas in their product line, including black-eyed peas, crowder peas and purple-hulls. Whirlpool will have five gas ranges on-site for cooking demonstrations in the park. Festival-goers who purchase a $5 souvenir spoon can taste the culinary creations and vote for their favorite.

“Charleston’s efforts to honor their heritage are admirable, and we are proud to be associated with an event that celebrates history, as well as agriculture,” said Max Fultz, general manager for Bush’s Visitor Center, located in the general store founded in 1897 by company founder A.J. Bush. “You have to share your story or people will forget.”

This year’s event will feature champion banjo player and humorist Mike Snider. Snider has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1990 and frequently performs on the legendary show. He was also a regular cast member for seven years on the popular family variety show Hee Haw, a weekly staple in many southern homes. 

The festival will feature a full range of entertainment throughout the day, including live music, storytelling, character greetings and a family fun field with games and air toys. A marketplace will offer handmade arts and crafts, fresh produce and booths featuring festival sponsors and heritage information telling Charleston’s nationally significant history. Food vendors will have popular festival food favorites available for purchase.

Leading up to the event, a photo competition will focus on agriculture and landscapes. The competition will spotlight amateur photographers, and work will be displayed at the festival. Competition details are also on the event website.

“We have a true history with the cowpea and want to celebrate its place in Southern culture,” said Melissa Woody, event co-chair and vice president for the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We are so excited and thankful to have Bush Brothers & Company Whirlpool Corporation sticking with us.”

Proceeds from the event will go toward the development of the Hiwassee River Heritage Center, which opened in May 2013 and is located on Highway 11 in Charleston. Sponsorships are still available at all levels. Anyone interested in supporting this community effort should contact Melissa Woody at 423-472-6587 or Darlene Goins at 423-413-8284.

Visit the festival website www.cowpeafestival.com for more information about performances and activities.


Titans Of The Ice Age 3D Comes To The Giant IMAX Screen Oct. 3

Titans of the Last Ice Age 3D, opens at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Theater on Friday transporting guests to the otherworldly frozen landscapes that supported vast numbers of these prehistoric animals. “Audiences will experience the world of these prehistoric animals with a realism that only this canvas can provide,” said Andy Wood, the film’s producer. “The Pleistocene has been ... (click for more)

Tina Turner Museum Flagg Grove School Has Grand Opening

What’s Love Got to Do with It? Everything --- a love of Tina Turner’s music and pop culture legacy, a love of historic preservation, a love of local communities and most of all a love for honoring the memories of those that traversed through the doors of Flagg Grove School. The Tina Turner Museum Flagg Grove School exhibit opened Friday, on the West Tennessee Delta Heritage ... (click for more)

Linear Park Planned As Extension Of Walnut Street Bridge In Front Of Planned Boutique Hotel

A linear park that will be an extension of the Walnut Street Bridge public space is planned in front of a new boutique hotel at Walnut Street and Aquarium Way (Second Street). Mitch Patel of Vision Hospitality on Tuesday night told nearby residents that "the city pushed this idea of a linear park, and we agree that it is a great idea." He said the current situation in which ... (click for more)

Sharply-Divided City Council Approves Office Reorganization; Councilman Freeman Calls Move "Evil, Hellish"

A sharply-divided City Council on Tuesday voted 5-4 to completely reorganize the council office, leaving current staffers without a job down the road but with the option to reapply. Councilman Moses Freeman called the move "evil" and "hellish." He said, "We are punishing somebody on a personal level," though he said the office has been running smoothly. Saying the majority ... (click for more)

How To Reform The City Industrial Development Board - And Response (3)

My aims is to bring to the public’s attention the need for procedural changes that, if implemented, would significantly improve the information available the public, to the City Council and to the City Industrial Development Board about the verifiable benefits and costs of tax incentive financing structures and to make the entire process transparent. The public, the City ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My October Garden

Hark! It is the first day of October and, as I make my monthly stroll through the garden, I find a growing numbers of leaves and acorns. Autumn leaves are beautiful while acorns are nuts, thus you will get the idea as we make our monthly awards: A PRETTY LEAF to Phil Hughes after the Minnesota Twins pitcher came within one inning of earning a $500,000 bonus this season. The deal ... (click for more)