SAFTA at Knoxville’s International Biscuit Festival

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If you’ve never been to Knoxville’s Biscuit Festival, you really have no idea what it’s like. It’s like when you go to summer camp and no one understands what you’re feeling because they haven’t experienced it. Last year was my first time at the festival after living in Knoxville for 4 years. I thought the event would be a glorified farmer’s market much like the ones that happen bi-weekly in the warm months downtown. Just with biscuits, I thought. Instead, in place of the modest crowd of people toting reusable shopping bags lumpy with vegetables, there were just a lot of people. This was more people than I had ever seen downtown. There were so many people that I couldn’t even see how many people there were because the other people were in the way.

It didn’t take me very long to realize that this festival was a big deal, and that I really liked biscuits.

Besides being an international festival, Biscuit Fest completely eclipses the city for weeks before the actual event. There are brunches, lunches, art shows, song-writing contests, a southern writing conference, and even a Miss/Mr. Biscuit pageant. Over 20 booths are set up on Biscuit Boulevard with specialty biscuits to try from the city’s restaurants, local bakers, and one group of writers and artists who can whip some crazy bread.

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Last year’s fest was truly a blur for me, and that may have been because I was up so early, but mostly because we slung over a thousand biscuits and preached the gospel of Sundress Academy to a never-ending line of people for two hours before completely running out of biscuits. Even after we ran out of biscuits, we were still having customers come by to ask about our organization and eat our leftover ham. Preparing each biscuit assembly-line style was a fast-paced comedy of errors, but it’s hard not to enjoy yourself when there is such a happy buzz (not to mention so many great smells) spreading through downtown. I had the pleasure of painting butter onto the tops of every biscuit we served with a basting brush. It was truly an honor.

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For $10, you can go around and try five biscuits from booths of your choosing, and with each ticket you cast your vote for the crowd favorite. You can also spend another $10 and try five more biscuits (recommended)! The boulevard officially opens at 8:30 a.m.

More information on the event and schedule can be found at


Stephanie Phillips is the Assistant to the Director at the Sundress Academy for the Arts and a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee. At 24, she still has no idea what to do with her life, but she hopes people still find that charming. Originally from Hendersonville, Tennessee, Stephanie has always loved writing and photography, but can’t seem to stop being a barista. She also loves short fiction, Precise pens, ice cream, and Netflix.

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