Every September Berea hosts the "Annual Spoonbread Festival." What is spoonbread, you ask? Well, it's a lot like cornbread only it's a tad sweeter and yes, you eat it with a spoon! I have no idea where it originated from, but Berea claims it. They even serve it as a delicacy at the omniprescent Boone Tavern Hotel & Restaurant.
Anyway, the festival is small by most standards, but it's still usually a lot of fun. It's held at the city park and has craft vendors, merchandisers, and food booths. The food booths always get me.
If you're going to be in the area then I suggest dropping by. But it's not necessarily an event that I would go out of my way to attend. If it's the crafts you're after, than you're better off hanging out in Old Town and going to the shops there. The only difference is that sometimes you find people at the festival that don't have regular shops. That can be rewarding in itself since some forms of craftmaking seem to be dying out in the area.
What is spoonbread? Well, it's a version of cornbread only you eat it with a...spoon. Some people call it "cornbread souffle", but that sounds way too fancy. So the Spoonbread Festival is Berea's festival. Every town has one. It's only been going for three years now, but it's picking up. There are various local crafts and food vendors and games for the kids and...spoonbread. There is also a car show. Last year I did a book signing there and had a great time.
The festival is the lovechild of Emogene Hogg. Hi Emogene!
I had a booth there last year and will have one again this year, only this time I am also selling my photography.
Berea is beautiful
There is some pretty good hiking in/around Berea. I used to go out to the Pinnacles on a pretty regular basis--it's one of my favorite spots. From the tops, you can see for miles and miles. It's incredible. An old Indian fort was there, and now there's an outdoor ampitheater that's used in the summer months. There's a little doggie that runs around-a herding dog mix that will go hiking with you-her name is Millie, I believe. She isn't a stray, so don't try to take her home. Berea is just a pretty place, plain and simple. My photo was taken on top of one of the Pinnacles.
Berea is "the folk arts and crafts capital of Kentucky"...it is also "the gateway to Appalachia". People here have a real sense of pride in their heritage...there are rednecks, but there are also proud, educated people, whose parents or grandparents came down from the hills to go to school and provide a better life for their children. Some of the world's leading Appalachian scholars and photographers make their homes in Berea. Look up Loyal Jones and Warren Brunner. People around here still teach their kids how to treat animals, play banjo, shoot a gun, and carve wood. These same kids go off to school with a self-sufficient attitude and end up teachers, doctors, accountants...anything. I'm glad a city like Berea has taken upon itself the task of promoting and preserving our Appalachian heritage.
Berea College is here. It's a Christian school, small, and the unique thing about it is that the students can work in lieu of paying tuition. They work at restaurants, on the grounds, at the farm, and foremost is their incredible folk art-everything from brooms to cuttingboards to ironworks. There are also lots of hippies at Berea college, and it has several outstanding programs in various areas.
Stuart_A_Ray's new Berea page
"It's home now."
We moved into our house, 3 miles east of Berea, the day after Christmas 1991. I had taken a job three months earlier, moving from Lansing Michigan. The "culture shock" was more than I would have guessed: It can be very closed and "clannish", but the boys have gone from elementary school into high school and it's all they really remember. We have made some friends, though most are transplants also. The weather is almost ideal: A touch of winter and the summers are no hotter than Michigan and, thanks to the hills, there is always a breeze.
Flowers in Berea
" Flowers in Berea "
I love flowers and Berea does an excellent job in the spring planting them around town. College Square is particularly beautiful, although there are other spots to be found around town as well that are just as nice.