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2023 International Cowpea Festival and Cook-Off

September 9, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 8:00 pm

Emily Ann Roberts will light up the stage as the headliner for the 11th Annual International Cowpea Festival and Cook-off presented by Bush Brothers & Company and set for Saturday, Sept. 9 in the Charleston Park. Roberts is making her mark in country music already playing on the coveted Grand Ole Opry stage 16 times since launching her career.
From the tiny stages in Knoxville, Roberts paid her dues and catapulted her career when she joined Team Blake on Season 9 of the popular NBC television reality show, THE VOICE. She was not even out of high school! She was the runner up, but says being named as runner-up was the biggest win of all. She was free to perform anywhere and everywhere. With all of her performing, songwriting and recording experience, Roberts has racked up more than 19 million streams and was recently named one of Rolling Stone magazine’s Best Acts of CMA Fest.
Growing up in East Tennessee, Roberts was raised on Smoky Mountain music, bluegrass players, and country artists in every era from Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton to Miranda Lambert and Cody Johnson. That influence has prepared her to bring the country back to country music. Working with producer Trent Willmon means she’s collaborating with some of Nashville’s most prolific songwriters. Now, Roberts finds herself surrounded by people who are like-minded about making country music that will make its mark in the studio and on the stage.
“I am passionate about entertaining. I do love singing, and songwriting has become a means to an end for me.” Roberts said. “I write so that I can take those songs and perform them, not the other way around.” It seems safe to say that country music is in good hands with Emily Ann Roberts.
The Cowpea Festival kicks off at 10 a.m. with activities throughout the day. Live music begins at 11 a.m. with a full line-up slated. The Whirlpool Cowpea Cook-off tasting is set for 2-5 p.m. and the cook-off crowd favorite will be announced at 5:45, just before Roberts takes the stage at 6 p.m.
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A little-known piece of agricultural history will be celebrated with the International Cowpea Festival & Cook-off returning this fall for its 11th year, to the public park in Charleston, Tennessee. The festival is set for Sept. 9, 2023 beginning at 10 a.m. Admission is $5 for adults, students 18 and under are free.
According to research by former Farm Bureau President Jack Sanders, Charleston was once a large grower and exporter of cowpeas and was known as the “Cowpea Capital of the United States.” Cowpea is the general name for black-eyed peas, field peas, crowder peas, southern peas, silver- and purple-hull peas and cream peas. The cowpea, known scientifically as avigna unguiculata, got its common name because the peas were first fed to livestock as a strong source of protein. People realized the benefits and flavor and have made these peas a staple on southern plates.
The event will include a cook-off focusing on cowpea recipes created by professional chefs. A marketplace will feature arts and crafts, produce and other local items for sale. Returning this year will be a children’s area, live entertainment, photo contest, food vendors and a heritage area to share other parts of Charleston’s story such as Cherokee, Civil War and Wild River history.
The Cowpea Festival and Cook-off is a non-profit event with all proceeds going to support the operations of the Hiwassee River Heritage Center. We are currently working to secure sponsorships, entertainment and vendors. We have a committee working on the various areas of festival planning and always have room for folks interested in helping or sponsoring the event. Contact Melissa Woody at 423-472-6587, mwoody@clevelandchamber.com or Darlene Goins at 423-413-8284, cowpeafestival@gmail.com to discuss your interest in this exciting event.


September 9, 2023
10:00 am - 8:00 pm


Charleston City Park
136 Cass Street NE
Charleston, TN United States
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