What do you get if you mix 250 pounds of cornmeal, 140 dozen eggs, 108 gallons of milk and 70 pounds of butter?

Mixed together, that is enough for 300 pans of spoonbread, enough to feed 15,000.

“That’s how many we’re prepared for,” said Greg Powell, co-chair of the 13th annual Berea Chamber of Commerce Spoonbread Festival.

More than 15,000 attended last year’s festival, but rain or the threat of rain could diminish this year’s numbers, Powell said.

A late Friday morning downpour of rain did not deter the 140 exhibitors or visitors who showed up later in the day to gulp down some of the fluffy cornmeal delicacy.

Mayor Steve Connelly opened the festival by spooning into the first pan of bread and inviting visitors to come “break spoonbread with us.”

Paul and Sandy Crissinger of Grove City, Ohio, who had come to Kentucky to take in some shows at Renfro Valley, brought their friends Rob and Judy Mugnier along to Berea for their first taste of spoonbread.

“We’ve been to the Spoonbread Festival a few times before, Paul Crissinger said. “It just happens to fall on a weekend when we come down to Renfro Valley.”

Not all out-of-town guests had come so far.

Berea native Lisa Johnson, who has lived most of her life in Lexington, said she had been “looking forward all day to a bowl of spoonbread.”

“It’s fun to watch people eat spoonbread for the first time,” she said. “Not everyone is sure how to eat it. Sometimes they try to pick it up like cornbread. But, it doesn’t take them long to learn there’s a reason why it’s call spoonbread.”

Jennifer Wygant, who moved with her husband to Madison County from Akron, Ohio, this summer, served Friday as a volunteer in the spoonbread tent.

“I’d never heard of spoonbread until this summer,” she said. “I grew up in Cincinnati, just across the river from Kentucky, but still never heard of spoonbread.”

Volunteering at the festival was a good way to get involved in the community and meet people, she said.

Memorial Park, at the corner of Broadway and Jefferson Street is lined for the festival with exhibit tents and food vendor stands.

Live entertainment is scheduled throughout the festival under a large tent next to the spoonbread tent.

Across Jefferson Street, next to the Russel Acton Folk Center, a carnival is set up with rides and games, including laser tag.

Antique dealers have their wares on display inside the folk center, a good place to go if it is hot or rainy outside. An antique tractor exhibit is set up in the center’s parking lot.

The festival is open today from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.



Bill Robinson can be reached at brobinson@richmondregister.com or at 624-6622.

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