International Biscuit Festival

I’ve never been a great fan of biscuits, probably because my mom made these horrible, dry, flavorless drop biscuits that required lots of jam and a strong will to choke down. Once I was out of my parents’ house, I suppose I warmed to the occasional buttery, flat-top biscuit à la Hardee’s, but they’ve just never really been my thing. Still, as something of a locavore (if not as much of one as I’d like to be) and as a devotee of the big local Saturday farmer’s market and associated vendors, I was eager to attend the International Biscuit Festival this year. We had to miss the inaugural festival last year for some reason or another, and since we had heard that it was so popular that they ran out of biscuits last year, we figured that this year it would be an event not to be missed.

Apparently, all of Knoxville had heard the same thing. The fest was a mess of tents and bodies packed into indistinct lines for biscuits of varying quality and provenance. You’d stand in line for 20 minutes to discover that the tent whose line you were in had just run out of biscuits, or that they were not biscuits at all but scones (which are great, but this is a biscuit festival). From the spot I stood in slightly away from the horrid crowd while my wife entered the fray to collect tiny biscuits, I saw at least two tents sponsored by radio stations; I suppose I had thought the biscuits would in general be baked by biscuit artisans. There was even a tent and an early breakfast event sponsored by Hardee’s — so much for taking part in a locavore culture.

We really didn’t see much more of the festival. There were events, concerts, contests, other vendor booths, and apparently art, but we were there with small children and just couldn’t endure the press of people. After standing around for an hour and consuming the little handfull of biscuits our $10 netted us, we pushed through the crowd to pick up a couple of things from the usual market and headed home.

I’ll be glad when the market returns to normal next week and I can buy my milk, meat, and veggies in relative calm and comfort. I don’t think we’ll attend again next year.

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