Get to Market Square for Dogwood food, art, fun!

This lovely glass piece is by David Goldhagen of Hayesville, North Carolina.

This lovely glass piece is by David Goldhagen of Hayesville, North Carolina.

In my 32 years in Knoxville, I’ve never seen a better Dogwood Arts Festival Art Fair on Market Square. This year, the art is as good as it’s ever been and the food and entertainment have been elevated many levels.

A welcome addition this year is the Publix Culinary Arts Stage located on Union Avenue across the street from Coffee & Chocolate. In anticipation of entering the Knoxville market within the coming year, it’s impressive that the much anticipated grocery chain already is making its presence felt with this highly visible sponsorship. If I were the other grocery stores in town, I’d definitely take notice.

Another eager participant in this year’s Dogwood Arts Festival is the Asheville restaurant Tupelo Honey Cafe, set to open its doors in Knoxville in late summer on the southwest corner of Market Square. Tupelo Honey not only has a booth in the fair, but it brought its personable executive chef, Brian Sonoskus, to the Publix Culinary Arts Stage Saturday to make one of his unique warm pimento cheese dishes. Tupelo Honey is about to launch a Pimento Cheese of the Month Club where, every other month, members will receive a different creative pimento cheese, some charcuterie and artisanal crackers. I, for one, am signing up! If you’d like to as well, keep an eye on the Tupelo Honey Cafe website (click here) for details.

The Market Square Arts Fair ends today at 5, so get on down there and check out all the fabulous art, food and fun. Here’s a quick run-through to get you in the mood.

These pretzels are by Rick Rickerman, who sells bread every week at the Market Square Farmers' Market. I can't wait for it to re-open!

These pretzels are by Rick Rickerman, who sells bread every week at the Market Square Farmers' Market. (I can't wait for it to re-open!) The presence of items like this represent the upgrade in Dogwood Arts Fair food this year.

But, don’t worry, the old favorites are still available.

There still are lines for corn dogs and funnel cakes!

There still are lines for corn dogs and funnel cakes!

And Orange Julius is in a visible location, as usual.

And Orange Julius is in a visible location, as usual.

But we had real food trucks this year from both Petro’s Chili and Chips and Savory & Sweet.

Folks in K.noxville have been loving Petro's since the 1982 World's Fair! Now the truck takes the spicy treat all over town.

Folks in Knoxville have been loving Petro's since the 1982 World's Fair! Now the truck takes the spicy treat all over town.

The Savory & Sweet truck is a new addition to the Knox food scene.

The Savory & Sweet truck is a new addition to the Knox food scene.

Nori was a fresh new food vendor this year.

Nori was a fresh new food vendor this year.

Cruze Farm was giving out free ice cream samples.

Cruze Farm was giving out free ice cream samples.

Drop by the Tupelo Honey Cafe booth to sign up for a newsletter and join the loyalty program.

Drop by the Tupelo Honey Cafe booth to sign up for a newsletter and join the loyalty program.

Here’s a look at some of the art for sale.

Need a new purse? Rudy Tell of Cosby, Tenn., has tons of great ones.

Need a new purse? Rudy Tell of Cosby, Tenn., has tons of great ones.

Kathy Veverka of Florence, South Carolina, makes these lovely baking and serving pieces. I have several myself and have given others as wedding gifts.

Kathy Veverka of Florence, South Carolina, makes these lovely baking and serving pieces. I have several myself and have given others as wedding gifts.

Popular painter Heather Whiteside has a booth offering her prints for sale.

Popular painter Heather Whiteside has a booth offering her prints for sale.

These beautiful stoneware baskets were drawing a crowd yesterday to the booth of Mary Curtin of Briston, Tenn.

These beautiful stoneware baskets were drawing a crowd yesterday to the booth of Mary Curtin of Bristol, Tenn.

These paintings of endangered Hawaiian owls were only a small part of the colorful wares being sold by Marc Villaneuva of East Point, Georgia.

These paintings of endangered Hawaiian owls were only a small part of the colorful wares being sold by Marc Villaneuva of East Point, Georgia.

Jared Weaver of Lenoir City, Tenn., calls himself the Canjo Man. Here he demonstrates his canjo playing! They are one-string instruments made of old cans!

Jared Weaver of Lenoir City, Tenn., calls himself the Canjo Man. Here he demonstrates his canjo playing! They are one-string instruments made of old cans!

Here is a close-up. Yet another use for Spam!

Here is a close-up. Yet another use for Spam!

I loved the fanciful characters made of rocks by Steve Rhule of Andersonville, Tenn.

I loved the fanciful characters made of rocks by Steve Rhule of Andersonville, Tenn.

More beautiful pottery. This is by Mike and Karen Baum of Lebanon, Ohio.

More beautiful pottery. This is by Mike and Karen Baum of Lebanon, Ohio.

Anne Freels was offering cornshuckery demonstrations, but not while I was there. I loved her cute witches, though.

Anne Freels was offering cornshuckery demonstrations, but not while I was there. I loved her cute witches, though.

Over in the Publix Culinary Arts Stage tent, an amazing outdoor kitchen is set up.

Acme Block and Brick provided this cooktop.

Acme Block and Brick provided this cooktop.

A grill with all the bells and whistles completed the envy-inspiring outdoor kitchen.

A grill with all the bells and whistles completed the envy-inspiring outdoor kitchen.

This ice sculpture featuring dogwood blossoms may not be there today. It was starting to melt a little by mid-afternoon on Saturday.

This ice sculpture featuring dogwood blossoms may not be there today. It was starting to melt a little by mid-afternoon on Saturday.

Tupelo Honey Executive Chef Brian Sonoskus, left, and CEO Steve F in the culinary tent.

Tupelo Honey Executive Chef Brian Sonoskus, left, and owner Steve Frabitore in the culinary tent. Frabitore said he can sense the excitement Knoxvillians feel about Tupelo Honey Cafe opening here in late summer.

Here is the pimento cheese Chef Sonoskus demonstrated. It is paired with a tasting of Robert Mondavi merlot.

Here is the warm pimento cheese Chef Sonoskus demonstrated. It is paired with a tasting of Robert Mondavi merlot.

Chef’s recipe for that warm pimento cheese is at the end of this blog post.

Music of all kinds is non-stop at the event.

Mid-day Saturday, we caught the band Pistol Creek Catch of the Day. Not only were they musically talented, they were hilarious!

Mid-day Saturday, we caught the band Pistol Creek Catch of the Day. Not only were they musically talented, they were hilarious!

My friend Tim Young was among the scores of volunteers helping out. He was selling beer and water.

My friend Tim Young was among the scores of volunteers helping out. He was selling beer and water.

Festival mascot, Dogwoody, poses by the official festival car.

Festival mascot, Dogwoody, poses by the official festival car.

OK. Here is the best deal of the day. Pay $2 — yes, $2 — and gain admission into the Robert Mondavi wine tasting. You get to try five kinds of Mondavi wine — our favorite was the pinot noir. Wine tasting today is at 3:15 in the culinary arts tent. Go early!

The Robert Mondavi wine tasting starts with fume blanc. You get gourmet pretzels as palate cleansers and wonderful dark chocolate to taste with the three red wines. Yum and fun!

The Robert Mondavi wine tasting starts with fume blanc. You get gourmet pretzels as palate cleansers and wonderful dark chocolate to taste with the three red wines. Yum and fun!

OK. Here is that warm pimento cheese recipe from Tupelo Honey Cafe:

WARM PIMENTO CHEESE

AND CHIPS – from the Cookbook

8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup finely diced roasted red bell pepper
Tortilla chips, for serving

Combine the cheese, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, stone-ground mustard, mustard powder, salt, pepper, parsley, and roasted bell peppers in a large bowl. Transfer to a microwavable dish and microwave for about 20 seconds, or until hot. Or put in a baking dish in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until heated through. Serve with the tortilla chips.

MAKES 2 CUPS

Here is Sunday News Sentinel story about the Market Square Arts Fair: click here.

Here is another blog post about the Art Fair by my friend Rusha Sams: click here.

15 Responses to “Get to Market Square for Dogwood food, art, fun!”

  1. Thanks for sharing what I think, too, is the best Dogwood Arts Festival to date! I haven’t been to all of them, of course, but this one offered finer quality art, food, and music! You’ve captured so much of what made this year unique! Thanks for showcasing what went on in the Publix tent and for the providing the recipe for warm Pimento Cheese!
    Wish you could have heard Jack Neely’s talk at Union Avenue Books because you could have countered all that negative press he spoke about with your good impressions! Appreciate the blog . . . a lot!

  2. Agree! Best Dogwood Arts Festival ever. Loved the jewelry, pottery, and paintings. I’m definitely signing up for Tupelo Honey’s Pimento Cheese of the Month Club. Thanks for letting me know what I missed: Rick Rickerman’s pretzels. Guess I’d better walk over there after brunch and get one.

  3. What fun. A true spring celebration. Very beautiful.

  4. Rusha: I hate that I missed Jack Neely! Isn’t it wonderful that there are so many things to do in Knoxville today that it’s impossible to do them all? I remember when that wasn’t true.

    I love your new blog, by the way!

    Gay: Fun hanging with you and hubby yesterday. Can you believe what a deal that wine tasting turned out to be?

  5. John: We’ll get you back down here yet!

  6. Thanks Cynthia, you always find something I missed and I always enjoy your snapshots.

  7. Mox–the wine tasting was both a deal AND fun. Glad we could have dinner together. Was good to catch up with you and Alan & Mickey–and I never mind two meals at the Bistro in one day.

  8. Always enjoy the Blue Streak and “warm pimento cheese”!! ……to die for. So happy that Culinary Arts Tent was so successful.

  9. My very favorite was “Albin Arts”, “a marriage of fine art and photograpy”. Absolutely amazing! The photographs are fantastic and range from waterfalls to beach and mountain scenes, etc. and the “paint to match” mat/frame give the works a 3D effect that is just breathtaking! I’ve never seen anything like it. I, too, felt this year’s festival had a new “energy”.

  10. Thanks for your comment, Bob! Mickey: I’m thinking we may see that warm pimento cheese on one of our downtown progressive dinners sometime this summer! Regina: I guess I missed the Albin Arts. Boo. Hope they come next year.

    Dogwood will have a real challenge trying to top this year’s event! But if anyone can do it, Lisa Duncan, her staff and army of volunteers are the ones who can!

  11. Cynthia, I love “the Blue Streak” thanks for keeping us in the loop. So disappointed we were out of town and could not attend the festival, looks like an awesome event!! So excited about Publix ad Tupelo Honey….. Have a great day!

  12. Thanks, Michelle. How sweet of you to comment. Looks like many great things are happening in Knoxville. Aren’t we lucky to live here?

  13. Cynthia – we missed you Sunday ! I kept saying that it wasn’t right to do the Dogwood Festival and not see Cynthia. I’m glad you were there enjoying the art and the great day.

  14. I went by your spot Saturday, Lynnda, and you must have been taking a break. I’ll get a shot of you and your colorful art next time you have it on display. Promise! If anyone would like to see what inspires Lynnda, she does a great job of showcasing that on Pinterest!

  15. FYI- Cynthia, David Goldhagen and his stunning glass work won Best of Show! Steve Rhule (see above) and Charles Pinckney’s fabulous hand-forged metal jewelry won Merit awards! Ask Mickey, she will tell you why we are addicted to Charles Pinckney jewelry!! I am so proud of the culinary arts being stepped up, I am proud to say I had a small part in the food vendors, but the Culinary Tent and the fabulous artists win the real Blue Ribbon!! Thanks for your usual great report and pictures!

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