Cocke County residents indulged in a treat with a special meaning to the area during a new festival Saturday afternoon.
year marked the county's first MoonPie festival. It wanted to honor
the MoonPie's creator, Earl Mitchell, who was from Cocke County.
festival took place at the Cocke County Fairgrounds. More than
one-hundred people braved heat in excess of 90 degrees to attend the event.
did this event to let more people know about the history [of the Earl
Mitchell]," said Cocke County Partnership President Don Hurst.
said Mitchell created the MoonPie when he learned miners were looking
for a treat to bring with them into mines. He said a miner told
Mitchell to make a treat as big as the moon and soon thereafter the
MoonPie was born.
Highlights of the festival included the cutting
of the world's largest moonpie and a moonpie eating competition. Keith
France won the competition by consuming nine moonpies in three minutes.
Anna Pratt, the granddaughter of Earl Mitchell, said she was surprised by the enthusiam of the crowd.
"So many people showed up," she said.
Dickson, the author of "The Great MoonPie Handbook", said he was
touched when he learned Cocke County residents shared similar
experiences about the treat.
"It was amazing, it was very emotional to me," Dickson said.
MoonPie festival comes one year after another Cocke County Festival,
the Ramp Festival, met its end. The Ramp Festival, which had been
around since 1954, honored the onion-like vegetable that grows in the
mountains. Hurst said, at its peak, the Ramp Festival attracted 40,000
He said, as of right now, the Cocke County Partnership is
not looking to make money off the MoonPie festival. He said the Cocke
County Partnership is just looking at the festival as a way to show the
region what the county has to offer.
"It won't be about money this year. it's about enhancing our [Cocke County] brand," he said.