A weekend of family-friendly competition, entertainment and delicious frontier food awaits March 2-3 during Pigeon Forge’s Chuck Wagon Cookoff.
Lunch, consisting of from-scratch dishes prepared for the competition, will be served at high noon on March 2. Tickets are $12.50 per person. That evening, guests and chuck wagon chefs can enjoy a little entertainment after a long day’s work with fine cowboy entertainment from cowboy poet and humorist Andy Nelson and cowboy music singer/songwriter Brenn Hill takes place at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa. The show begins at 5 p.m. for $20 (tax included) per person. Seating is first come first served.
Tickets to all events, including lunch, can be purchased onsite or in advance at https://www.mypigeonforge.com/chuckwagoncookoff. The event has sold out for the past seven years.
“The Chuck Wagon Cookoff celebrates an important piece of American history and highlights a couple things the people of Pigeon Forge know very well, delicious food and entertainment,” says Pigeon Forge Executive Director of Tourism Leon Downey. “While the chuck wagon cooking never disappoints, the interactive elements of the weekend make it an event that our visitors and residents look forward to each year.”
Seven teams will circle their wagons at Clabough’s Campground (405 Wears Valley Road) for a day of frontier-inspired fun. These modern-day mobile chuck wagon cooks, or cookies, as they are known, rely on simple ingredients to guide their menus and fire to power their ovens just as the early American chuck wagons did in the 1800s.
Chuck wagon cookoffs aid in the preservation of cattle drive trail days as well as ensuring the authentic reproduction of the mobile kitchens. The competition includes cash prizes for most authentic wagon and awards in various food categories, including meat, potatoes, bread, beans and dessert. All food items must be prepared onsite and using ingredients provided to the cooking teams. Condiments may be used at the cook’s discretion. Prohibited ingredients are announced prior to the competition.
The cookoff event also includes several free activities from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: an old-time Western Buckaroo Roundup for children and adults of all ages with Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch providing roping and branding demos; cowboy lookalikes and Sisters on the Fly, the largest women’s outdoor adventure group in the country, with free tours of their Cowgirl Caravan of vintage trailers; and Western poetry and music featuring Andy Nelson, Marshal Andy & the Riders of the Silver Screen Band from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The weekend continues on Sunday, March 3, with the Chuck Wagon Breakfast and Cowboy Church at Stages West (2765 Parkway). The cowboy-style breakfast will be served 8:30 to 10 a.m. for $5 per person (tax included). Cowboy Church follows at 10:30 a.m. and admission is free.