Cowpea Festival set for Sept. 14
by By GREG KAYLOR Banner Staff Writer
Feb 18, 2013 | 1143 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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It’s been just a few months but officials are already preparing for another International Cowpea Festival in the city of Charleston.

Bush’s Beans has confirmed its sponsorship and Saturday, Sept. 14, has been confirmed as the date of the second annual festivity.

“There are so many photographic opportunities. I saw several on the way to the meeting today,” said Nancy Neal, communications director for the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce.

Neal is also in charge of the photo contest.

The photo contest is just one of the many activities and competitions the Cowpea Festival offers.

“The festival was such a success last year,” said Melissa Woody, vice president of the Chamber’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Woody is one of many organizers who brought together the inaugural International Cowpea Festival held at Charleston City Park last fall.

Neal said last year’s amateur photographers who entered the contest captured images of Charleston, Bradley County and most importantly, the heritage of the area.

The agri-heritage of the cowpea dates back to the days the Cherokee owned the land in Bradley County.

“Charleston was once known as the ‘Cowpea Capital of the World,’ because of the large amount of peas grown in the area and shipped to markets far and away. Cowpea is the general name for the crowder pea, black-eyed pea, cream pea, silver hull and other field pea varieties,” Woody said.

Woody said sponsors such as Bush’s Beans, Homestead Tractor, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau have already committed to making the second International Cowpea Festival a success.

“We are also talking with a number of other key sponsors this year. Also, we are kicking around other ideas to improve what we believe will grow into one of the greatest festivals in the country,” Woody said.

Games, activities such as pageantry, food vendors, the cook-off at both amateur and professional levels and of course music will all be featured.

Suzy Bogguss entertained for the inaugural festival.

Event planners are considering the names of several entertainer prospects for this year’s festival.

According to Woody, planning meetings are scheduled for the second Tuesday of each month, and hopefully will be held at the Charleston Heritage Center located on historic Highway 11.

“Right now we want to let all interested photographers [know they need] to get busy,” Neal said.

No cellphone photos will be accepted.

Images depicting landscape or disappearing landscape, agri-tourism, production, kids or critters on the farm, items grown in the Ocoee Region, rural beauty or just down-on-the-farm memories are presented as ideas to those interested.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available for the event this year.

For additional information, visit the International Cowpea Festival Facebook page or access www.cowpeafestival.com.