March 6th, 2013
High endorsement of the National Banana Pudding Festival arrived in late February from the Southeast Festival and Events Association, which declared the Centerville event the Best Festival among those with an operating budget of less than $75,000.
“We were pretty excited,” said festival board chair John Blackburn, “and pretty shocked at the same time.”
Blackburn and Puddin’ Path chair and board member Jeanne Beasley attended the association’s annual awards event in Alburn, AL, and brought home four more distinctions:
* First place for Best Other Merchandise, for the Puddin’ Pot, created each of the last two years by local potter Greg Pace.
* Second place for Best Vendor Supplier, in recognition of the contributions of Wood and Strings Puppet Theatre, the national touring troupe that presents entertainment during the October festival and is operated by Clarissa and Leon Fuller of Centerville. Clarissa is a festival board member
* Second place for Best Marketing Campaign, an effort led by festival board members Jeannetta Hitt and Peggy Owen. The distinction is for rack cards, posters, media publicity, giveaways and its website. It includes the festival’s National Banana Pudding Cook-off and Auction and, this past year, its Miss Banana Pudding and Banana Boat Float events.
* Third place for Best Sponsor, which is Community First Bank and Trust. Blackburn said the bank volunteered to work at the admission gate every year; Centerville manager Sheila Bettini is a festival board member.
“They’re the first ones they (visitors) meet,” said Blackburn. “They establish the Southern hospitality and welcoming.”
Also serving on the Banana Pudding Festival board are Sarah Hinson, Uta Colwell, Glenn and Pug Lapham, Joyce Boyd, Kathy Nunes and Lynne Wheeless.
Blackburn said the 2012 season was the first time the local festival was eligible to compete for awards from the association, which has hundreds of members from the Southeast states: Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia , Kentucky and Tennessee.
Last year, the Shrimp and Grits Festival of the Jekyll Island Authority won the top award for festivals with a budget less than $75,000.
“It’s going to help with marketing and sponsors,” said Blackburn. “If you go to your sponsors and say, ‘Our festival was chosen . . .’ it shows that you, compared to all of the other festivals –we’re doing something right.
“From the very beginning, though, we have been a solid, fairly well organized operation.”
It’s the second regional recognition for the festival, after selection last year as one of the 20 top events in the Southeast United States during the fourth quarter of 2012.
The Centerville event was joined by top winner Clarksville’s River and Spires Festival, which won Best Festival for events with a budget of more than $75,000.
The 2013 National Banana Pudding Festival will be on October 5 and 6 – its first two-day presentation in Centerville.
Article provided by Hickman County Times
Tags: 2012, Award, Banana Pudding, Centerville, Cook-Off, Hickman Co Banana Pudding Cook-Off, Hickman Co., Hickman County Times, John Blackburn, Kaleidoscope Award, National Banana Pudding Festival, NBPF, Puddin' Path, Puddin' Pot, SFEA, Southeast Festival and Events Association, southeast united states, sponsors, TOP 20 Event Award, vendor, Volunteers, Wood & Strings
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