CHARLESTON (press release)—The International Cowpea Festival & Cook-off is a celebration of the local agricultural past and will take place Sept. 12 at the public park in Charleston, Tenn.
In the early 1900s, Charleston, Tenn. was once known as the Cowpea Capital of the United States. Today, the town celebrates the cowpea (the general name for the crowder pea, black-eyed pea, cream pea, silver-hull and other field pea varieties).
The Cowpea Cook-off features professional chefs preparing appetizers, entrees and international flair that include any variety of peas in the cowpea family as the main ingredient. Cook-off tasting for visitors who purchase a $5 souvenir spatula will take place 2–5 p.m.
Throughout the day, guests can enjoy 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.
The festival is aptly sponsored by Bush Brothers & Company, a 106-year-old canning company that has become a national distributor of food products—particularly baked beans. The center, located in Dandridge, includes a museum, café and a general store stocked with goodies, gifts, Bush products and souvenirs.