Festival is cancelled, including Muscadine Festival Cooking Contest

— Written By Sydney Johnson and last updated by

KENANSVILLE — The impact of Hurricane Florence has led to the decision to cancel the 2018 North Carolina Muscadine Festival.

The decision was made Thursday morning (Sept. 20) by the festival’s Board of Directors. The 14th annual festival celebrating the cultural heritage of the state’s official grape and it’s flourishing muscadine wine industry had been scheduled for next week (Sept. 28-29, 2019) at the Duplin County Events Center.

“Several important factors were involved in the Board’s decision,” said Festival Director Debby Scott. “None were any more important than the ongoing human impact that many in our area are still experiencing. We know many folks right here in Duplin County have personal, family and property priorities that would make holding the festival seem inappropriate.”

The Board considered a postponement of the festival, but no suitable compromise date could be found between now and the time Thanksgiving and Christmas seasonal events will begin.

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It’s time to step up and serve up your favorite Muscadine grape recipe at the annual North Carolina Muscadine Festival cooking contest, September 28, 2018, in Kenansville.

The 14th annual cooking contest welcomes amateur or professional cooks to submit entries. Recipes are required to contain at least one cup of Muscadine grapes, juice or wine to qualify for entry in one of the following five categories. Each category offers a first, second and third place prize – $50 first place, $25 second place, $10 third place.

  1. salad and appetizers
  2. breads, muffins
  3. dessert (cobblers, cakes, pies, pastries, etc.)
  4. jams, jellies, preserves
  5. entrees and main dishes

Entries are accepted between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Friday, September 28.

All cooked entries must be prepared at home and brought to the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Duplin County office in the Lois G. Britt Agricultural Center, 165 Agriculture Drive, Kenansville, NC 28349 where judging takes place. A written copy of the recipe, including preparation details and cooking instructions, must accompany the entry and list the participant’s name, address, and phone number. Also, contestants are encouraged to utilize quality disposable dishware for entries other than those in category four (4).

  • Judging takes place between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on September 28. The entries are judged on creative use of Muscadines (35%),
  • taste/flavor (35%),
  • texture (10%),
  • ease of preparation (10%),
  • and general appearance (10%). Please note that scoring ‘general appearance’ points is awarded for general appearance of the entry and its presentation whether displayed on chinaware or quality disposal ware. Disposable dishes are preferred.

Contest entries will be available for pick-up from 2-4 p.m. At the end of the day, contest sponsors are not responsible for dishware not picked up and any remaining food entries will be discarded.

Winners will be posted at the office immediately after judging concludes. The results will also be announced at 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 29 at the NC Muscadine Festival in the Duplin County Events Center and prizes are awarded.

N.C. Cooperative Extension of Duplin County sponsors the contest annually in conjunction with the NC Muscadine Harvest Festival. Additional contest information is available from the office 910.296.2143, or by contacting, sydney_johnson@ncsu.edu.