Azalea Festival to feature Baking Competition

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The 2014 Pickens Azalea Festival is shaping up to be among the best of this event’s annual offering.

In its 30th year, the festival is bringing in new talents and an array of lively entertainment, along with the various types of artists and craftsmen, and the variety of food vendor that has made this event so popular. Local and area bakers will this year be able to participate in the 1st annual baking competition, hosted by Pickens own Francine Bryson.

Last year, Bryson charmed the nation with her Pickens County wit and humor, and earned a second place slot on the CBS hit show, “Great American Baking Competition.”

Shortly after the show ended, Bryson signed a contract with Random House Publishers to publish her cookbook. The book, titled “Blue Ribbon Recipes From A Redneck Kitchen,” is on the best sellers list, but won’t be out till September.

According to Russ Gantt, coordinator of the festival, any amateur baker wishing to participate in the contest can bring their whole cakes, entire pies, and a dozen cookies or pastries to the back entrance of Michael’s restaurant on Saturday, April 19th, between noon and 2 pm. Bryson, and a team of selected judges, will decide the winners, through tasting the baked goods and viewing the items’ appearance.

“The winners will be announced on the Main Stage at 4:30 pm,” Gantt said. “We are excited that Francine is adding so greatly to the Azalea Festival’s line of family entertainment.

“The festival committee truly believes that this year will be a great year in The Azalea Festival’s history,” Gantt said.

The contest is limited to amateur bakers who submit made-from-scratch, not from mixes, items.

Each entry must be accompanied by a printed or typed recipe and contestants may enter only one baked item per category. All entries must be baked in the oven to be eligible. Junior bakers, ages 7 to 10, will be judged in a separate group.

The grand prize is a GE 30″ free-standing electric double oven range compliments of Phillips Supply of Greenville. And the winner will be offered in their prize package a segment on the show Carolina Now baking your winning recipe with Francine Bryson on TV and an appearance on Your Carolina with Jack & Megan.

So get those applications in, entry deadline is April 10th . For rules and baking application visit the website at pickensazaleafestival.org. The 2014 Azalea Festival is slated for Friday and Saturday, April 18th & 19th.