Last year 60k people attended Berea, Kentucky’s Spoon Bread Festival, an annual homage to that common rural Appalachia dish.
This year the spoon bread pans will grow cold as the furor over the Confederate flag has caused the cancellation of the party.
The Berea Chamber of Commerce board of directors recently voted to cancel the annual Spoonbread Festival after Mayor Steve Connelly asked the fest to ban the sale of Confederate flag memorabilia at the event. The vote was unanimous. The decision came after Bereans United for Racial Justice had protested the availability of Confederate paraphernalia at the festival.
The president of the chamber Jennifer Napier stated that “…We are a nonpartisan business entity that cannot take sides on issues such as the Confederate flag.”
It sounds like they took a side.
I spent a lot of time in Berea when I was a kid. I had a bunch of friends from the diocese who lived there; I dated a girl who lived there, and my family regularly ventured there from Knox County to eat at the restaurants.
Papa Leno’s was the first place I ever tried bell peppers on a pizza. Scarred me for life and I still remember it.
Does the dust-up between the mayor and the chamber seem a little juvenile? Cancelling a massive festival that pours millions of dollars into the local economy seems a bit short-sighted. Was there no ability to compromise to preserve the event.
Maybe put all the Confederate vendors off to one side where they can play Confederate Railroad and just sort of circulate amongst themselves while the non-Confederate attendees walk around eating spoon bread and spraying tourist dollars all over the place.
2016 would have marked year 20 of the Spoon Bread Festival.