Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mid-week Mania: RC & a Moon Pie

Just in case you're already planning this summer's weekend trips, here's one you shouldn't miss. *

In 1917, a salesman for Chattanooga Bakery’s Mountain City Flour Mill was visiting the stores on his route in the coal mining country of Kentucky. He asked them what kind of snack they’d like and the miners told him they wanted something filling. When he asked how big the snack should be, one of the men pointed to the rising moon and said “That big.”

Thus was born the Moon Pie, a sweet confection made of chocolate covered graham crackers and marshmallow filling. They come as single deckers, double deckers, mini Moon Pies and even have a fruit-filled variety.

In 1905 in neighboring Georgia, a pharmacist named Claud Hatcher developed a drink to supply to his family’s grocery store. His first beverage was called “Royal Crown” or RC for short. By 1940, RC was available in 47 of the 48 states due to aggressive advertising and endorsements by such stars as Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.

RC was the first company to distribute soft drinks in aluminum cans and produced the first low-calorie diet cola called Diet Rite.

Whether by design or by fate, these two items have become a pair. Filling and affordable, a Moon Pie and an RC are a southern tradition. And in another pairing, they are celebrated annually on the third Saturday in June at the RC and Moon Pie Festival in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. Located in Tennessee Walking Horse country, this historic town’s population of 400-odd swells to over twenty thousand as folks pour in for an early-morning 10K race followed by the RC-Moon Pie Parade featuring the newly crowned RC-Moon Pie King and Queen. Food and craft booths abound and include such specialties as southern barbeque and fresh lemonade. There’s live entertainment with country music and bluegrass bands and local cloggers. The RC-Moon Pie Madness games commence after lunch and include the Moon Pie toss and watermelon seed spitting contest. After the games, the world’s largest Moon Pie is cut and served to the crowd.

The highlight of the day’s events is the Synchronized Wading, which parodies the synchronized swimming event in the Olympic Games. As a matter of fact, this event was inspired by the 1996 Olympic Games held in not-too-far-away Atlanta, Georgia. Viewers sit on hay bales set up on the town square and follow a scripted story, acted out in a wading pool and accompanied by music and sound effects.

This was the event that drew me and two friends to the festival in June of 2004. One drove from Louisville, Kentucky and the other from a suburb of Nashville and we met up on the crowded town square. After roaming the shops lining the square, all of which featured festival t-shirts, we treated ourselves to a snack of – you guessed it – RC’s and Moon Pies. When we passed a wagon advertising deep-fried Moon Pies, my friend Annie rolled her eyes and quipped a la Frasier Crane, “I can almost hear my left ventricle slamming shut as I speak.” Then we made our way to the square to find ourselves a choice viewing spot and waited for the synchronized wading to begin. By the end of the performance, we’d laughed til we hurt.

Bell Buckle is located about fifty-five miles southeast of Nashville and is an easy day trip from Music City. It boasts several antique shops and the Bell Buckle Café & Music Parlour, which features live music on weekends along with a menu full of down-home cooking. It is also home to the Webb School. Founded by William Webb in 1870, it is the oldest continually operating boarding school in the south.

When you’re looking for an outing suitable for the entire family, check out the RC and Moon Pie Festival and enjoy a day of sweet treats and good old-fashioned fun. It's indeed a "southern thing."

So... who's had an RC and Moon Pie? And what's the craziest/wildest/most unusual/most fun festival you've ever been to?

Photos courtesy of the Bell Buckle Chamber of Commerce

* The real reason I did this post is I'm having surgery tomorrow at 2:00 and the brain just isn't up to creating something new so I recycled this from an article I wrote a couple years ago for a southern-themed blog. Keep me in your thoughts. And I'll check in with one of the Playfriends as soon as I can.


Barbara Vey said...

While I love food, I have to admit that I've never had the pleasure of a moon pie and RC together. Sounds like my kind of vacation.

Good luck with the surgery, I'll be thinking of you.

Problem Child said...

I'm not a Moon Pie fan. Never have been. But I love festivals!

Smarty Pants said...

This sounds fun. I have had a moon pie and I've had an RC cola, but I don't think I've paired them up. I'm such a bad southern girl.

Jen said...

PM, love the story of how moon pies got their name. Good luck with the surgery! And yes, have the Playfriends let us know how you're doing.

Angel said...

If you get chocolate moon pies and heat them in the microwave until they just start to puff, they'll taste like smores when you eat them. :) My hubby taught me that. It's the only way I'll eat them.


Instigator said...

I'm not a big moon pie fan. I think it has something to do with the marshmellow. I do love a good festival though!

My favorite festival is the Alabama Jubilee each year during memorial day. between 40 to 60 hot air balloons lifting off in the early morning fog. Beautiful. I've crewed for the festival since I was a junior in high school - all except for the years I was pregnant. My girls are even into it. Hopefully, Sweet Pea will get her first real ride this year.


Lynn Raye Harris said...

I don't like Moon Pies these days, but I'm pretty sure I've had the Moon Pie-RC combo when I was a kid.

Hmm, most unusual festival. There was a Spam festival in Hawaii, but I didn't get to go. :( My favorites were the wine festivals in Germany. You get a shot glass that hangs from a harness around your neck and you go try different wines. You can definitely get tanked that way. :)

Hugs and good luck, PM. I will be thinking about you.

Homer Hickam said...

I'm off to Salt Lake City tomorrow, the first stop in a long Red Helmet tour. But I'll be thinking of you during your surgery and sending good wishes in your direction. Linda's mom is a week out of surgery now and doing much better. It just takes a while to heal but it will happen, I swan.


Maureen said...

How funny to have a festival for them. Hope all goes good for you today

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the story PC. And yes, I did the moon pie and RC thing many times during my childhood years. In my hometown in south GA we had the "Annual Rattlesnake Roundup" festival. Imagine hundreds and hundreds of rattlesnakes in cages - or don't. They would have shows during the day on how to milk the snake venom. I enjoy learning new and interesting things - but that wasn't one of them.
Good Luck with your surgery!
Sherry W.

Angel said...

You know, snakes don't usually bother me, but that sounds kind of scary, Sherry!


catslady said...

Hoping everything goes well and you're feeling better soon!

I also wanted to let you know I received my card and $2 to put towards a cloth grocery bag. In fact I splurged and added a $1 and got one that folds and has a zipper!

Carol said...

Hope everything went well with your surgery!