The festival known for its delicious cornmeal, milk, butter and egg concoction by those near and far will be kicking off Sept. 20 for a 23rd year. The ever popular Spoonbread Festival is back again, this time with few new things up its sleeves.

While everyone is familiar with the Saturday Spoonbread eating contest, two new contests will be debuted next weekend. The first is the Spoonbread spoon decorating contest. Adults can spend $5 to enter two decorated spoons into the contest and youth are encouraged to enter two as well at no cost. Some examples of materials one can use includes wood, metal, concrete, clay, glass, fabric and paper mache. Everyone is encouraged to use their imagination.

All entries will be on display in the Russel Acton Folk Center from Friday at 4 p.m. through Sunday at 5. Penny votes will be taken starting Saturday morning at 10 for the Community Choice Awards. Voting will end at 5 p.m. and a winner will be selected and announced on the stage, as well as on social media, at 7. Penny votes will be donated to the Berea Women's Care Center.

A Chamber Choice/Grand Champion will be awarded for best of show and receive the title of Official Spoon for the year as well as a monetary award and ribbon. The Grand Champion will remain on display in the Berea Chamber of Commerce Office for one year to represent the official spoon.

A Community Choice Award Ribbon will be given to the entry that receives the most penny votes (or the total amount of money collected) and first, second and third place ribbons will be awarded in each category.

Decorated spoons can be dropped off between Monday, Sept. 16 through Thursday, Sept. 19 at 123 Gallery (121 North Broadway, Berea) between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Artists can pick up their entries at from 123 Gallery on Monday, Sept. 23.

The other new contest is the photo contest. Entries are $10 per person and they can enter up to four photos, one per category. People, pets, landmarks and nature shots of Berea are all accepted. Entry drop-off and pick-up are the same as the spoon decorating contest as well as the voting method and winner announcement.

Starting on Friday, area residents can enjoy a weekend full of fun starting at 3 p.m. for the opening ceremony at Memorial Park in Berea. The three-day event is full of affordable family fun and promises something for everyone at any age.

After taking a hiatus in 2016, the Spoonbread Festival came back in full force for 2017, and the festival has grown exponentially since its return.

A schedule of events can be found at, but one of the highlights include Friday night's Hot Air Balloon Glow, which provides for some great family memories, and it's easy to see why.

Attendees can bring their lawn chairs and picnic blankets to settle in for a spectacular show of hot air balloons, which light up the horizon, creating a picturesque view. The crowd also can enjoy delicious food from one of many food trucks that will be in attendance.

But the Balloon Glow isn't the only event taking place on Friday. Attendees can enjoy live music at the Entertainment Tent at Memorial Park with the first act on stage, the Madison Dulcimers, starting at 4. While the music is playing, residents can peruse the wares from the many booths located in Memorial Park or catch the Berea Community High School Football game.

Those who return early Saturday morning can be treated to free tethered balloon rides on the lawn at Berea Community School.

Saturday morning also kicks off the 5k race and 1 mile walk at 9 a.m. While Saturday is jam packed with fun, there is plenty to do and see. Food vendors will be lined up and down the park, carnival rides will be available in the green space of Acton Folk Center and plenty of free and live music.

The Spoonbread Festival Parade begins Saturday at 2 p.m. The route follows West Jefferson Street, North Broadway, Chestnut Street, Ellipse Street and ends back at Berea Community School.

While Sunday is the last day of the festival, it surely isn't lacking in fun. Rowlette said one of the popular events for the day is the car show, which starts at noon. Sunday's activities end at 5, with a Little E - Jonathan Rader concert to end the afternoon.

According to a previous Register story, Spoonbread's origin stems from pioneer days when the most available staples were cornmeal, cream and eggs, even noting Native Americans ate similar dishes.

For more information, including a full schedule, event registrations, times and locations, visit

For more information about the spoon decorating contest, call Virginia Bland at 859-626-2737. For more information about the photo contest, call Jeffery Carpenter at 859-200-3295.

Reach Kaitlyn Brooks at 624-6608; follow her on Twitter @kaitlynsbrooks.

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