Food Festivals

This summer our neighbors started what I have thought our town needed for a long time…a farmer’s market!

The response has been good, from what I can tell. Sadly, there were a couple of rain out weekends. We haven’t gone every time. We were out of town for one weekend–had something else going one another weekend.

It is a fun place for folks in the community to meet and catch up with each other.

It is smack dab in the middle of town, literally at the intersection of Front and Center!

I really hope they continue to have the farmer’s market in the future!

We have plans to head out there in the morning. The weather looks like it is going to be perfect.

Here are just a couple of pictures we took the last time we went to the Fishtown Farmer’s Market.

This was just a sample of the goodies at the farmer’s market.

There is nothin’ quite like that fresh farmer’s market produce!

Do you have a favorite local farmer’s market?



Reformation Day–”Ya say you want a revolution!!!”

About 500 years ago on October 31st Martin Luther, a German monk, turned from the Catholic church. Here is a very good description of the events…


He changed the course of the history of the church that day.

Since we are talking about Martin Luther, I thought I would share a little from another Luther celebration.

Our family took a trip to Germany last summer with my in-laws. The trip  coincided with Lutherfest, the celebration of Martin Luther’s marriage to Katharina von Bora. It was a festival like no other I have experienced.

Here is our hotel…



We started the day before the festival at the Wartburg Castle.



The Wartburg is where Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German.

This is his desk.


The castle is quite ornate in places. Of course it has changed throughout the years.




They only allowed a limited number of photographers to take pictures. Naturally, we designated Chip as our photographer. Notice his official, fancy, green sticker.


There was a little cafe just outside the castle entrance.


This is where they guys started the wurst count (or as we in the states call them…brats)



I’m not sure I remember how many they ate on our trip, but it was a lot!

After we returned to the hotel from the castle, we decided to check out the festival scene.

The main festival events didn’t start until Saturday. There were a few things to see and do that Friday night though.



We had dinner a small restaurant. The highlight was the picture posing we did!



One of the things I loved about German was all the flowers!

Everywhere you went there were flower boxes. The little restaurant had a flower cart that was too cute!


Saturday morning we were excited to get to the festival–maybe a little too excited. We got there before too much was happening. There were a couple of vendors open, so we looked around a bit.


Before we knew it we started to hear a commotion! Drums!


Two bands marched through the streets to a field. There were all kinds of tents set up in the field. Everyone was having their own party. It was kind of like how you might imagine a tailgate party in the 1500s would be!


Of course my band girls LOVED seeing the marching bands!



We didn’t have a program, well, not one we could read. There was a program–in GERMAN! We could make out bits and pieces. It was more fun to just hang out and see what happened next!

We had a time to tour the Castle Church.


This is the church were Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses.



The church was under a bit of construction at the time. Our tour was in German. Here is a tip, don’t answer your cell phone during a German tour! (any tour for that matter) There was one fella, who didn’t speak German either, who decided to have a conversation in the über resonant church! The tour guide told him, “Hello! We wait!”

All along the festival/parade route were vendors of all sorts–food, toys, herbs, jewelry. After our church tour, the girls and I felt the need to fit in to the atmosphere a little more.


There was a pretzel stand right outside of the church!


We had the chocolate one, of course.


Next we stepped into a visitor center for a minute. I don’t remember where the others were. I DO remember the sky opened up and rain poured!!! The details of when and where everyone was are a little faded. I just remember Chip and Bud getting drenched!


This movie poster was in the visitor center. We have this movie. It is REALLY good. Maybe we will watch it tonight!

It is a good thing we did a lot of walking on this trip because we did a lot of eating!!!


These potato pancakes with apple sauce were quite tasty!!





We obviously couldn’t eat from EVERY food cart, although we wanted to try them all!



Crepes with Nutella and bananas!


This little pizza was yummy. Instead of a traditional red sauce, it had a white sauce that was like a cross between alfredo sauce and ranch dressing.


Megan had spied this huge pan of sautéed mushrooms and couldn’t wait to try them!



More wurst!


Fresh fruit was a welcome change from all the fried food!


These little custard cups were AMAZING! Strawberries with vanilla creme. I still need to work on replicating this recipe. I think if I can ever make it as delicious as it was in Wittenberg, my family will never let me make another dessert!

The parade was such fun!

People of all ages participated.







I’m not 100% sure why I am making this face…


Maybe it had something to do with this…


The parade was a “wedding celebration”. There was a reenactment of the Luthers wedding ceremony. We missed the ceremony but caught them in the parade.



Toward the end of the parade route there were people passing around little cups of champagne. Katie didn’t think much of it!


That evening we went to a church service–in English!


Since it was the Lutherfest wedding celebration, there was a special ceremony for married couples to reaffirm their wedding vows. It was very cool. We all cried.






I hope you will go read the Martin Luther link. Here it is again so you don’t have to scroll forever! 

Hopefully, you will have a new way of thinking about October 31st!





This weekend I had the privilege of going to the 3rd Annual World Cheese Dip Championship in Little Rock, AR. Even cooler is that I got to go as “media”. I had press passes for me and my photographer! We took this opportunity to have a little date. The girls don’t like cheese dip anyway.

It was a gorgeous day–maybe about five degrees warmer than I would have liked but lovely just the same.

The festival ran from 11AM-3PM. We got there a little after noon. After asking around about what the procedure was for sampling the dips, we were told to get ourselves a bag of chips. We stood in the line for a while. When we reached the front, all they had left was crumbs. The folks at the chip booth assured us that chips were on the way. Since we were next in line to receive chips, we decided to wait for their arrival.

Hooray! The chips are here! It really was not too long of a wait. At least we had shade!

Let the tasting begin!

There were two categories–professional and amateur.

Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro had a very cute booth, complete with chandelier. Their dip was pretty good. It was a little heavy on the cilantro for my taste. ANY cilantro is just about too much cilantro for my taste. Plus they served their dip cold. I prefer my cheese dip warm.

Moe’s Southwest Grill had some tasty dip. It was a little salty. That might have been the chips though. They passed out coupons for their restaurant, nothing like a little bribery.

I have to say I was a little disappointed in Stoby’s. I LOVE Stoby’s. However, I am used to their yellow cheese dip. At this event they were only passing out samples the white. I didn’t care for it as much.

Who should I see at the Dogtown booth but my friend Becky from high school! She made the booth all cute! Becky is a great decorator/designer. She has been featured in  At Home in Arkansas magazine. I’m sure she has a long list of credentials. I’m still waiting for her to just get on Facebook.

She and her husband Kevin were there trying to help the reigning champion reclaim his title!

The dip was good, lots of cumin.

I took my Pork Chop Tuesday bag as my purse. I guess I am guilty of a little shameless self-promotion.

You could definitely spot the folks who had been to the festival in the past. They came prepared for the task of cheese dip juggling. A simple muffin tin made a nice carrier.

I forgot to take a count of just how many booths there were there for the contest.

We tasted them all–all but one– dum, dum, dum. (okay, that was supposed to sound like dramatic “who done it” music!)

This guy…

He did have a nice display of colorful peppers.

We knew, however, once we smelled his dip, there was no way we were eating it. It hurt our throats just to smell it! Call me a chicken if you want, but I didn’t want to eat anything with a ghost pepper in it!

Our sampling continued. Some were better than others. Some seemed like they had been watered down a bit. There was one that, I promise, to me, tasted like hot dogs. Some had meat; others had spinach.

There was one competitor from Austin, TX that had some very–different dip. I later found out that their cheese dip had Parmesan cheese, raisins, capers, and cranberries. Not my favorite.

My vote went to these guys…

They had very yummy dip, in addition to a fun booth.

Here are the official results:

2012 World Cheese Dip Championship Award Winners


Best booth design:

Most Innovative:
Papi Tino’s (Austin, Tx) (w/ Parmesan, raisins, capers, cranberries)

People’s Champion:
Mitchell Williams Law Firm (Amateur)
Dizzy’s (Professional)

Little Dipper (Second Prize):
UAMS (Amateur)
US Pizza (Professional)

Big Dipper (Grand Prize):
Concheeztadors (Amateur Division)
Dizzy’s (Professional)

You can go here to see what the awards were if you are curious.

A big thanks to my photographer hubby! You can see more of his work at Chip Bayer Photography.

A big thanks to John, the head cheese dip,  for the press passes!