Pigeon Forge, TN: Giddyup to Pigeon Forge - the chuck wagon's a-comin'
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee has their 11th annual Winterfest from February 24th-27th where one of the featured events is Saddle Up!, a Stetson- tip and celebration of the American West. A quirk of geography prevented Tennessee from having the full cowboy experience the first time around, so Saddle Up! is something of a corrective. Mostly, it takes the form of eating and swing dancing, but, hey, who needs the rough parts?
What interests us most is the Chuck Wagon Cookoff. The hipsters on both coasts think they've created something new with all the groovy food trucks plying vittles to passersby. But they're wrong—chuck wagons got their first. The "cookie" who made the food (chuck) was a welcome sight on the prairies, which purveyed fresh and preserved foods to hungry cowboys, loggers, and settlers.
The cookoff takes place in Pigeon Forge on February 26th, so grab your lady or man feller and giddyup. If you can't make it, though, you'll be glad to know about the American Chuck Wagon Association, dedicated to preserving the heritage of the chuck wagon. There are competitions around the country throughout the year. Yee-ha!