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The Cornbread Festival Returns to Mill Springs Mill in Wayne County, Kentucky

Updated: Sep 16, 2023

Labor Day weekend unofficially marks the end of summer, but with that ending comes the beginning of festival season! And what better way to celebrate the harvest season than with the return of the Cornbread Festival to Mill Springs Mill in Wayne County, Kentucky? After a hiatus, this beloved event is back, and delivered a day filled with delicious food, historic entertainment, and a whole lot of Southern charm.

old white mill building with steps down to water.
Mill Springs Mill in Monticello, Kentucky

In the heart of Wayne County, Mill Springs Mill stands as a living testament to Kentucky's rich agricultural history. The mill, which has been meticulously preserved, harkens back to a time when the rhythmic creaking of wooden gears and the soothing rush of water powered the heartbeat of the community.

Frying potatoes on a grill
Frying potatoes at the Cornbread Festival

A volunteer at the Cornbread Festival ladles out chicken & dumplings.
It's all about the chicken & dumplings.

As you approach the festival grounds, the aroma of freshly baked cornbread, soup beans, fried potatoes, and chicken and dumplings wafts through the air, welcoming visitors with its warm embrace. Local vendors gathered to showcase their goods, and the Monticello Woman's Club had their gift shop open for visitors. The gift shop is an excellent place to pick up your own bag of fresh, authentic Wayne County corn meal or to grab a new selection, grits!

bags of handcrafted cornmeal sit on a table for sale
Mill Springs Mill corn meal

Shoppers visiting a gift shop in the woods.
Visitors milling in and out of the Monticello Woman's Club gift shop at Mill Springs Mill.

frying potatoes on a Blackstone
Waiting on those fried potatoes; all Southerners know that is one thing that cannot be rushed.

One of the festival's highlights was having the opportunity to meet Miller John Childers and tour the mill. To walk through the old building and up the stairs to look out was really a treat as the massive overshot water wheel turned steadily in the background while curious visitors investigated the outdoor surroundings.

While you're in the area, take some time to explore the natural beauty and rich history that Wayne County has to offer. From the stunning Lake Cumberland to the nearby Civil War sites, there's no shortage of adventures waiting to be had. Additionally, you could visit the Monticello Market in downtown Monticello or even walk around the corner to Meadow Creek Falls located just behind the Brown Lanier House.

The Cornbread Festival isn't just about indulging in delicious food and enjoying entertainment. It's also about celebrating our unique heritage with old and new friends and its return is a cause for celebration, bringing together locals and visitors alike for a day of fun, food, and fellowship. Watching children play and families explore the area, was an incredible reminder of the enduring spirit of community and the importance of preserving our shared heritage. So mark your calendars for next year and join us for a day of Southern hospitality and mouthwatering cornbread creations on Labor Day weekend at Mill Springs Mill in beautiful Wayne County with lake access to Lake Cumberland!

Families walk around in front of Mill Springs Mill
Visitors making the trek from the lake to visit the Cornbread Festival

Line of people outside waiting to be served food.
The line was long, but the wait for beans & cornbread was worth it.

Corps ranger giving directions
US Army Corps of Engineers Ranger Judy Daulton is shown talking to a visitor about the grounds and the festival.

Flyer for the Cornbread Festival 2023
Festival Flyer

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