International Cowpea Festival & Cookoff

September 14, 2013
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The festival is set for Sept. 14, beginning at 10 a.m. According to research by 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, including an amatuer and professional division. A marketplace will feature arts and crafts, produce and other local items for sale. The event will also include a pageant, a children’s area, entertainment, food vendors and a heritage area to share other parts of Charleston’s story such as Cherokee, Civil War and Wild River history. There will be live music throughout the day and headliner Billy Dean will take the stage for a free concert at 6:00PM.