“All things edible, all things Appalachian!” That is the motto of this year’s “Taste of Tennessee” festival, taking place on Saturday, June 18th in downtown Jonesborough. Taste of Tennessee is a day-long celebration of Appalachian food and foodways, highlighting the history and culture surrounding the region’s cuisine.
You may remember hearing about Taste of Tennessee in years prior, although the COVID-19 pandemic forced the event into an entirely online format in August 2020 and a cancellation in September 2021. Despite those necessary changes, approximately 4,000 people attended the first event online, participating in special programs like cooking classes, historical demonstrations, farm tours, and more.
This year, The Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia is pleased to announce that the event will take place live and in-person, with a similar dynamic and exciting program of activities. The festival will include live musical performances, food, special guest presentations, vendors, and contests. One of festival’s central features is a cake-baking competition for homecooks, professionals, and children, where local residents are encouraged to show off their skills, as well as their favorite dishes. A public tasting of the entries will be offered. Listening tickets for the lecture series, starring some stellar panelists and demonstrators, are available for purchase online at heritageall.org.
Executive Director Anne G’Fellers-Mason and Programming Coordinator Megan Cullen Tewell hope that the event will bring people together to explore and celebrate Appalachian cuisine. This festival will take place from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and is completely family friendly. In addition to highlighting the work of local chefs, farmers, historians, and food experts, this day-long celebration also serves as a fundraiser for The Heritage Alliance and will benefit local hunger-fighting initiatives.
Describing the event in years past, Tewell explained that: “Our goal is to get people excited about Appalachian cuisine, past and present. That’s our main objective with this event— to connect people to food and to each other.” The Heritage Alliance has partnered with numerous local entities, including to highlight Appalachian foodways in a variety of contexts.
A complete program for Taste of Tennessee will be released shortly. Confirmed speakers include prominent chefs, “foodies,” farmers, historians, interpreters, to name a few. And vendors will have artisanal goods available for purchase, alongside food trucks offering local fare. Featuring historic recipes, techniques, and ingredients, as well as modern spins on Appalachian classics, Mason and Tewell hope that Taste of Tennessee helps the public to come together and enjoy a sense of community, preferably one smothered in butter.
Taste of Tennessee promises good times, good company, and good eats. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to learn more about our local food heritage on June 18th—and bring your appetite for Appalachia! Learn more and purchase tickets at heritageall.org or via Heritage Alliance on Facebook.