Biscuit festival celebrates fifth year in downtown Knoxville

Judges relax between biscuit categories. Photo by Ryan McGill.

A baker prepares her ingredients for the Bisucit Festival. Photo by Ryan McGill.
A baker prepares her ingredients for the Bisucit Festival. Photo by Ryan McGill.

Cold weather and a rainy forecast didn’t stop biscuit lovers from coming down to the fifth annual International Biscuit Festival from May 15-18 in downtown Knoxville.

A baker prepares ingredients. Photo by Ryan McGill.
A baker prepares ingredients. Photo by Ryan McGill.

 The festival held competitions in four biscuit categories including savory biscuits, sweet biscuits, special biscuits and student biscuits.

 The winners were:

Special and Grand Champion of the Southern Biscuit Flour Biscuit Baking Contest: Erin Carlini with her Chesapeake Bay Biscuit.

 Savory: Heather Thacker with her Marcona Crumble & Candied Bacon Biscuit.

Judges relax between biscuit categories. Photo by Ryan McGill.
Judges relax between biscuit categories. Photo by Ryan McGill.

 Sweet: Paige Sandbank with her Orange Spice Cardamom Delight Biscuit.

 Student: Auden Cole with Auden’s Sausage Smasher Biscuit.

The event also allowed vendors of local and non-local companies to display their products, allowing participants options for snacks, meals and goodies.

Amelia’s Spiced Pecans offered samples of their pecans which are designed to be used as a cooking ingredient. They consist of roasted, chopped pecans with flavoring. Mike Reardon, the owner, offered three flavors:  hot, herb and cinnamon.

 “It’s totally unique in that  it’s a cooking ingredient,” said Reardon. The only other types of flavored nut are snacks, he said.

 The small business is partnered with Whole Foods and hopes to soon spark a partnership with a local shop in Knoxville.

 The company opened in 2011 when Reardon noticed roasting pecans and putting them in his chicken salad made it taste better. This was the second year Amelia’s Spiced Pecans was a vendor at the Biscuit Festival.

 “Our products are all natural, with nothing but high quality ingredients,” Reardon said.

Biscuit Festival participants walk through the crowd and vendors on Clinch Ave. Photo by Ryan McGill.
Biscuit Festival participants walk through the crowd and vendors on Clinch Ave. Photo by Ryan McGill.

 The vendors were lined on each side of Clinch Ave and Market Street, along with bands, food trucks and the Farmer’s Market.

 Anthony Edwards, who was walking through the crowd with his wife said he enjoys all the excitement and that  “it’s just a neat thing to see.”

 “My favorite vendor is Benton’s Country Ham,” Edwards said, “We’ve been every year, and we will definitely be back next year.”

 There were a mixture of entertainers, from paid bands to traveling favorites. The Get Right Band played atop a truck and trailer for their first time at the festival.

 Silas Durocher, a member of The Get Right band said, “It was just a fun time. A lot of people having fun and enjoying themselves which is what we’re all about as a band.”

 “It’s a wholesome environment. No one getting crazy, just enjoying themselves, eatin’ biscuits,” Jesse Gentry, another member of The Get

A member of The Slick Skillet Serenaders plays at the Biscuit Festival. Photo by Ryan McGill.
A member of The Slick Skillet Serenaders plays at the Biscuit Festival. Photo by Ryan McGill.

Right Band, said.

“We had a blast and appreciate being invited to play at the festival,” Durocher said.

Check out tunes from Biscuitfest here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyioRbMDEPQ

Edited by Maggie Jones