Move over Kentucky. Tennessee is showcasing its brown spirit this weekend.
This weekend, the Southern Cross Music & Tamale Festival debuts in Jackson, Mississippi. Hosted by Southern Crossroads radio show, the festival is billed as "the epic music and culinary experience of the Deep South" and will feature tamales and other Southern food paired with drinks and music from some of the region's finest musicians.
by Shermika Dunner What's 13 and gets bigger, better and wiser with each year? Sidewalk Film Festival, heralded as one of the greatest independent film festivals in the Southeast, welcomed moviegoers to Birmingham's theater district August 26-28. I had the pleasure of attending and managed to see quite a few films that are either about the South or have a Southern connection. “The Reconstruction of Asa Carter” is a documentary that profiles the life of Asa Carter, a KKK leader from Alabama who fibbed about being a Native American in a memoir he wrote. Utilizing the name Forrest Carter, he wrote "The Education of Little Tree," which chronicled his life as a Cherokee orphan. To date, the book has sold over a million copies and is regarded as one of the first books in the Native American literature genre. The documentary's subject matter is intriguing, considering Carter was the speechwriter for George Wallace, but lacks appeal and left many unanswered questions. The film did explore Carter’s life in the KKK but glossed over what happened after it was discovered he was not a Native American. I regret choosing this one over "Sahkanaga,” but that's always the dilemma at film festivals. Next up, “Leaving
by Sarah Matalone Celebrating summer's most coveted fruit, the Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival returns to Atlanta on July 17 for the third year in a row. Since its inception, the festival has drawn a variety of the Southeast's best chefs, farmers and mixologists. JCT. Kitchen & Bar, an Atlanta-based restaurant whose specialty is what Chef/Owner Ford Fry calls "Southern farmstead cooking" - think buttermilk-brined fried chicken, fried apple pie, chopped salad and a citified version of chicken and dumplings - plays host for the tomatoey shindig. When I talked with Chef Fry, he explained what led to the creation of such a killer event. "Georgia has amazing tomatoes in the summertime, from heirlooms to little cherries and sungolds," he says. "Typically in late July, our local farmers have tons of tomatoes and need to sell them. And, I've always wanted to hold a crazy fun food event at JCT. and our surrounding property." In addition to showcasing the state's bounty of tomatoes, the festival pits chef against chef, mixologist against mixologist, in a competition for the best recipe. Chefs pair up with local farmers to create unique, tomato-based dishes for festival goers to sample, while mixologists fashion some accompanying tomato-based cocktails. After the slicing,
Back-to-back festivals celebrate the state's wine industry in June. by Linda M. Erbele Sometimes you have to wonder if the GPS is really taking you to a winery. There’ve been so many turns since leaving the main road that you don’t know how the mailman finds it, but discovery is part of the delight when visiting Georgia's wine region. Once there, stretch out on the tasting room deck, admire the neat rows of vines behind the hillsides and sip what just might be the next gold medal winner. If your idea of Southern wine is Kool-Aid sweet and made from muscadines, you’re in for a surprise. Georgia is producing Cabernets, Merlots, Viogniers, Chardonnays and a number of excellent blends. “It used to surprise people that Georgia has a whole wine industry that doesn’t involve muscadines,” says Steve Gipson, president of the Georgia Wine Association. A number of the vineyards, especially in North Georgia, grow European varieties of grapes, producing award-winning varietals. “There’s a tremendous amount of interest," continues Gipson. "I think the state lists 32 bonded wineries, and several more are very close to becoming bonded.” Like craft breweries, local wineries produce a product unique to an area, made with a hands-on, personal touch.
Festivals celebrating cornbread, biscuits and MoonPies are taking place throughout the Volunteer State this summer. By Kate Spears May is here and, in the South, we all know what that means … the start of festival season! I guess I’m what you could call a festival junkie. Early each year, I scour the web and other media outlets for local festivals and slowly, but surely, each weekend of the upcoming months gets filled with events. I don’t always make it to every festival I pencil in, but some take more priority. This year, I kicked off festival season with the National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. South Pittsburg is just off Interstate 24, close to where the borders of Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama meet. This tiny town comes alive for the festival, held the last weekend of April for the past 15 years. South Pittsburg is also home to Lodge Cast Iron, and since every true Southerner knows cast iron bakes the best cornbread, this is a perfect tie-in for the festival. After making the two-and-a-half-hour drive from Knoxville, the Southern beau and I met up with some Nashville friends who were joining us, and prepared to experience all the Cornbread Festival
How to survive heat, port a potties, dust and more at the South’s slew of summer music festivals. By Tara Lynne Groth Summer in the South is hot, but full of good vibrations. Music festivals are a literal hot spot, and a handful are celebrating big anniversaries this summer. Their longevity is a testament to their ability to retain festival goers, offer better lineups and keep the atmosphere comfortable. According to North Carolina’s MerleFest, which celebrates its 23rd anniversary this year, “one-fifth of American adults now attend festivals while on vacation, with music festivals being the most popular choice.” With tickets selling out way in advance, it’s becoming a feat to claim a spot at one of the South’s notorious music events—and find a spot in the shade once there. Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival in Richardson, Texas, now offers shade shelters, Tennessee’s Bonnaroo boasts air-conditioned tents (one that screens films), and misting tents are popping up at more festivals like Wakarusa, held in Ozark, Arkansas. When there’s no shade, make your own. At camping music festivals, you can pitch your tent right next to your car. Bring an extra tarp and rope and create a breezeway between tent and vehicle by tying