CHEROKEE VILLAGE TO HOST FIRST ARKANSAS PIE FESTIVAL SATURDAY
Grab your forks! The community of Cherokee Village is hosting Arkansas’s first statewide Pie Festival this Saturday, April 20.
Pie is one of the most beloved Southern foods. It is connected to some of our most nostalgic memories of home, family, holidays and those special moments around the kitchen table. Simply put – who doesn’t love pie?
The Arkansas Pie Festival will savor this much-loved food by hosting a competition between professional pie makers from around the state. Judges and attendees will be able to sample pies of all varieties before crowning a champion baker. Pies from amateur and student bakers will also be on display and auctioned off for charity.
In addition to pie tasting, festival-goers will enjoy live entertainment, food trucks, pie eating and throwing contests, shopping at the Arkansas Pie Pop-up Shop and the opportunity to meet Miss Arkansas 2018 Claudia Raffo.
The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in Little Rock will also be bringing its mobile makerspace, the STEAM Roller, to the festival. Participants will be able to test different maker concepts utilizing a variety of state-of-the-art tools. This hands-on educational experience for all ages includes technology currently available at the Hub—like laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC Routers, and more.
In addition to a competition between commercial bakeries and restaurants from around the state, the festival will include a student and non-commercial or home chef competition. Bakers are asked to submit two pies of the same variety, one for judging and one for the auction. Each entry includes two free festival tickets, as well. For more information and to sign up online, visit the “Register” page at www.arkansaspiefestival.com. Entries must be entered by Friday to compete.
Kat Robinson, Arkansas travel writing and leading authority on pie, serves as Festival Co-Chair. Kat has written the book on Arkansas Pie, A Delicious Slice of the Natural State, and recently released a second edition, Another Slice of Arkansas Pie. In 2018, AETN premiered the documentary “Make Room For Pie: A Delicious Slice of the Natural State” telling Kat’s story of crisscrossing the state in search of Arkansas’s best pies. Kat will be available to sign her guide and other Arkansas food-related books. Rex Nelson, Senior Editor at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and Steve Shuler, Senior Editor at Rock City Eats, will also serve as festival judges.
The festival will end with a silent pie auction and awards ceremony. Festival proceeds will support STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) programming and education through the community’s Spring River Innovation Hub.
Ticket sales will be available on-line or at the gate. Adults are $9.00, which includes the pie tasting. Children 5-12 are $5.00. Visit www.arkansaspiefestival.com to learn more about the festival including how to become a contestant.
Cathy Drew is a lifelong resident of the region that she loves to promote. As a matter of fact, she was born in downtown Batesville in the late ’60s, which is in one of the eight counties she now enjoys encouraging people to visit.
Jeff Drew is her husband of almost 29 years. They have a son, Jonathon (Jon) Drew, his wife Devyn Stewart. Drew is also grandmother to Jon and Devyn’ s son, Jase Drew.
However, Drew can’t skip the other part of her family: the pets! Lady Bird (a stray dog welcomed into their home in June 2012) and of course, Howard – – a puppy compliments of Lady Bird shortly after arriving at the Drew home. They also have Kasha whom Drew inherited when her mother passed in 2016, and they adopted Bullet, a stray in November of 2016.
Drew, became associated with the Ozark Gateway Region in 1990 while working at the ad agency (The Media Market Inc.). The agency handled marketing for the regional association where she along with her co-workers produced an annual tabloid publication. She began work as the director of the Ozark Gateway Region In June 2000.
After Drew became director, she took the region to the next level by helping the tourism organization create a new website and moved it from the old newspaper paper tabloid publication to a color magazine format.
Over the years Drew has helped the organization meet new marketing goals, such as in- and out-of-state marketing, assuring that all 105,000 copies of their magazines are distributed each year.
Drew also helped the region create a heritage trail map that is still on posters in many establishments across the region and Arkansas. She oversaw development of a motorcycle route map that folds into a credit card format for riders, as well as those seeking scenic routes to enjoy the beautiful Ozark Mountains.
She has attended several AARP Shows across the U.S., representing Arkansas. She helped open a visitor center for the Ozark Gateway, allowing visitors to pick up information from across the entire state 24/7.
In 2016, she assisted creating the first Ozark Gateway Region Golf Classic and the tournament continues to grow each year, allowing the organization to grow its co-op program, helping each county have dedicated promotion. Drew stays busy at Ozark Gateway as the ad sales manager, magazine editor, day-to-day office operations, trade show representative, as well as magazine distribution representative all while making sure that the region is represented all over Arkansas and southern Missouri.
Drew has been featured in several local and statewide publications over the years as well as the 1997 cover of the Ozark Gateway Region tabloid along with her then 4-year-old son, Jon. She has received several awards such as the Batesville Rotarian of the Year in 2010 as well as a three-time Paul Harris Fellow.
She also has served as an Independence County election commissioner for several years and now serves as their co-election coordinator, helping with behind-the-scenes management of voting equipment, day-to-day election deadlines as well as poll worker training.
Drew serves on the Arkansas Travel Council Board of Directors, Ozark Foothills Film Fest Board of Directors, Batesville Rotary Club Past President and is the Rotary Clubs current publicity chair.
In March of 2018, Drew was honored with induction into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame for her many years of dedicated service to the tourism industry.