RC-MoonPie Festival - Gastro Obscura

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RC-MoonPie Festival

Every year, one tiny Tennessee town celebrates this sugary Southern duo.

On the third Saturday of June, Bell Buckle, Tennessee, throws a party in honor of an iconic local pairing: MoonPies and RC Cola. MoonPies—two round graham cracker cookies sandwiching marshmallow and enrobed in a chocolate coating—have been a specialty of nearby Chattanooga, Tennessee, since 1917. RC (“Royal Crown”) Cola is a Georgia-based soft drink that tasters liken to Pepsi. In the 1950s, each item could be purchased for a nickel, and the duo became known locally as “the working man’s lunch.” The pairing even earned its own song, “Gimme an RC Cola and a MoonPie,” performed by Bill Lister (also known as “radio’s tallest singing cowboy”).

In 1992, in honor of MoonPie’s 75th anniversary, Bell Buckle (population 405) offered to throw the regional treat a birthday party. The celebration was so successful that it’s become an annual festival still going strong more than 25 years later. Attendees pour into Bell Buckle’s downtown for live music, dancing, contests, games, a parade, and the ceremonial cutting of the world’s largest MoonPie. Free sweet sandwiches and sodas are distributed in abundance. If all this sugar-based revelry sounds a bit hedonistic, consider signing up for the festival’s kick-off event. It’s much easier to rationalize eating a deep-fried MoonPie after completing the morning’s main activity: the RC-MoonPie 10-Mile Run.

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