For third annual event, it’s double the prize money, triple the fun

The 2013 Arkansas Cornbread Festival entry deadline is less than a month away – and the festival date, Saturday, Nov. 2, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be here before you know it. Don’t miss your chance to show your cornbread skills while having a ball and possibly taking home the big prize money!

Since Sept. 15 falls on a Sunday, entries must be postmarked by Monday, Sept. 16. The professional category entry fee is $75; for amateur competitors entry is $25. (Late applications may be accepted through Oct. 1, if spaces are available, but a $25 late fee applies after Sept. 16.)

The application is available on-line www.arkansascornbreadfestival.com under the heading “Compete.” Or contact this year’s competitor coordinator, Caroline Fox, at chfox01@hotmail.com.

Big news this year is that prize money has doubled, a new layout will make things easier logistically, and a larger panel of celebrity judges will add to the sense of celebration (of course everyone present during the official tasting times still gets a vote). Prizes are $1,000 Best Overall; $500 Best Traditional and Best Non-Traditional Cornbread, professional category; $250 Best Traditional and Best Non-Traditional Cornbread, amateur category; and $250 for Best Side Dish. All competitors will be housed together under the pavilion and tents in the beautiful Bernice Garden.

Amateur teams are encouraged – and don’t forget that you can win more than one prize. Even the best booth decoration will get a prize (decorations are optional), and each celebrity judge will award autographed judges’ choice ribbons to their favorites.

Another perk for early sign-up is that registered competitors receive free social media promotion. Upon receipt of application and fees, promotion kicks in for all competitors on Facebook (Arkansas Cornbread Festival), Twitter (@ArkCornbread13) and Pinterest (pinterest.com/ArkCornbread13), and competitors will be listed on the ACBF website as well.

Last year brought 3,300+ people to the streets of SoMa, and this year’s attendance should be even bigger. In addition to the high-stakes culinary competition, the Arkansas Cornbread Festival is a celebration of a beloved southern staple, southern hospitality and community pride, all wrapped into five hours of music, food, vendors and family fun.

What a great way for restaurants, schools, hospitals, churches and amateurs to show community spirit!