The line waiting on an awesome liver mush sandwich at last year's festival.
Even though the temperatures don't seem to be showing any signs of fall in Cleveland County yet, there is one event coming soon that will definitely let locals know that autumn is here: the annual liver mush festival. And, of course, these days the festival features not only the famous meat product but also dogs in costumes, live music, and much, much more. Now known as the Mush, Music & Mutts Festival, the event will take place this year on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. in uptown Shelby.
The day will get underway at 8 a.m. with the Kids Zone, sponsored and directed by Uptown Shelby Association. The YMCA is sponsoring corn hole other activities, along with five different inflatables.
Also beginning at 8 a.m., the Foothills Farmer's Market will open, with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, locally grown meats and numerous other products available for purchase.
The liver mush portion of the festival will begin with registration for the liver mush eating contest at 10 a.m., with four heats planned throughout the day, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Awards will be given to the top three eaters who consume the highest volume of liver mush in a set period of time.
An always popular event is the liver mush recipe contest. There is no entry fee, and the entrants with the top three recipes will earn cash prizes.
According to the recipe contest founder Cathey Ellis, there has been a wide variety of entries in this contest through the years.
"My favorite part of the contest is the creativity of the local home cooks that transform liver mush into spectacular high-end dishes," Ellis says. "People have submitted everything from the basics to gourmet items, such as liver mush ravioli, scotch eggs made with liver mush, and even liver mush tortilla chips made by Kings Mountain Mayor Scott Neisler. That recipe was the first place winner in 2016!"
Judges' scores for the recipe contest will be based on taste, originality, appearance and texture. Details about the contest and the registration form are available at www.musicmushandmutts.com.
For those who want to indulge in liver mush themselves, there will be numerous vendors at the festival, including Mack's Liver Mush, whose owners first started the liver mush festival 30 years ago. Many uptown Shelby restaurants will feature a liver mush special of the day, and other food items will also be available for purchase.
This year the music part of the Mush, Music & Mutts Festival will shine light on NC musicians who have made a name for themselves. There will be a mix of local and regional musicians, including Jake HaldenVang, who is currently a contestant on the popular show, The Voice. Other artists performing include Cane Mill Road and headliner Rissi Palmer.
The Pet Festival, sponsored and directed by RollOver Pets, will feature the always popular pet costume contest, with registration from 8:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. and the contest at 11 a.m. The pet parade will be at 10:30 a.m. "Musical sit" and other pet games are also planned throughout the day. The Shelby Police will be doing a K9 demonstration at 2 p.m.
Another highlight of the day will be the Little Miss Liver Mush Pageant. Contestants ages 0-18 will vie for 11 titles competing in beauty, sportswear and interview. This portion of the festival will take place at the Shelby City Park to ensure that the show can continue in the event of inclement weather.
For more information and a complete itinerary of the Mush, Music & Mutts Festival, visit www.mushmusicandmutts.com.
By April Hoyle Shauf, Special to Community First Media