HANCEVILLE, Ala. – A huge crowd came out Saturday to Hanceville’s Downtown to enjoy a day dedicated to America’s go-to comfort sandwich. The inaugural Grilled Cheese Festival, hosted by the Hanceville downtown merchants, was wildly popular and successful.
By noon on Saturday, the downtown area of Hanceville was packed with festival goers. On the main stage, six contestants let their culinary skills shine as they created their signature grilled cheese recipes for the judges. Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail served as one of the three judges and while he waited for the sandwiches to be completed, he was all smiles. “I am blown away. I think people are ready to get out and this is something fun and different,” Nail said.
Across the table, Reverend James Fields was also in awe of the crowd, saying, “This is really great, especially for the merchants and other vendors after a difficult year.”
After judging the six grilled cheese entries, the three–judge panel had made a decision. The top grilled cheese chef was Hanceville fourth grader, Julyus Lasseter. Hanceville City Council member Patty Dean took second.
On the other end of Bangor Avenue, teams gathered for the cornhole tournament and attendees formed lines at the many food trucks that also offered their take on the grilled cheese sandwich. Hanceville downtown newcomers Meriweather’s Soul Food had attracted a crowd as they served up their ribs, burgers and chili. One of the employees of the popular meat and three reported as they returned from an emergency run to the store, “We knew it would be busy but wow!”
The Hanging Lady Antique and Oddities Shop chose Saturday as their grand opening. The new shop, located on Commercial Street, was teeming with shoppers and down at Blue Moon Records, owner Neal Watts was pleased by the number of people who had come to his store-–many for the first time.
Out on the streets, people were enjoying the food, shopping, live music and perhaps most of all, the cooler weather. The Grilled Cheese Festival was a huge success and “it didn’t rain,” Mayor Nail joked.
Once the merchants of downtown Hanceville have a chance to measure the festival’s success and return after observing Memorial Day, what the future holds for the Grilled Cheese Festival will without a doubt be discussed.
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