Big weekend festival prepares for rainy start - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Big weekend festival prepares for rainy start

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It's a sunny Friday for set-up, but a rainy Saturday could turn a dream festival into a nightmare.

"We have moved the cook-off [indoors] already for Saturday so we don't have to deal with the stoves getting wet and those kinds of things," says Cornbread Festival president Beth Duggar.

It'll be inside a building owned by local company Lodge Cast Iron Manufacturing and features a fresh coat of "cornbread yellow" paint.

Duggar will stay in touch with local emergency management officials in case storms or severe weather threaten the fun.

"The alerts from the management system will hit everyone's phones here," explains Duggar. "We have a public address system, so we can announce if people need to seek shelter." She encourages everyone to attend and wants to emphasize that she and her staff are all about keeping you safe.

This is is an important event for the area. All profits earned each year by the city of South Pittsburg are donated to the groups who provide volunteers.
It's been helping to keep the small, tightly-knit community afloat since the festival began nearly 20 years ago. Every penny goes a long way when facing tight budgets.

"We've donated back $750,000 to school groups, ball groups, churches, civic organizations," adds Duggar.

Donated funds from the festival gave the multipurpose Princess Theater downtown got a makeover, re-wired an entire church building, and provided supplies to the elementary school.

Vendors Jeff and Ann Martin realize they can't control the weather, so they take it all in stride. They've come from Florida to sell their personal line of wooden toys and products this weekend.

"We're prepared and we wait it out and see what happens. The Lord's in control and we don't worry," says Jeff.

Visitors Barbara and Robert Jones, also from Florida, are stopping for the weekend before continuing to New York. They're not worried about the rain Saturday, either.

"We bought ponchos and we bought an umbrella. So we got the equipment now, so we're set," says Barbara.

Nice weather Sunday should make up for any less of a crowd Saturday.

For information on the 19th Cornbread Festival is South Pittsburg, Tennessee, visit this link.
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