A cornerstone of Southern cuisine, cornbread is the focus of this weekend's festival in South Pittsburg. (Photo: whitneyinchicago, Flickr)

Last year, the rainy weather made the cornbread soggy during the annual South Pittsburg festival.

But it’s another day, and another cast-iron skillet is piping hot.

The 18th annual National Cornbread Festival is this weekend, April 26 and 27.

Gates open at 9 a.m. both days. Admission is $5. No pets are allowed on-site.

Click here for directions.

As always, the festivities will include a number of events for families and food lovers.

Cornbread cook-offs, food vendors, arts and crafts, a children’s corner and a historic tour of homes are a few of the expected activities.

The National Cornbread Cook-Off Competition is the centerpiece of the entire weekend. This year’s competition is sponsored by FiveStar, Lodge Cast Iron and Martha White.

Taking place all day Saturday, the contest will feature 10 finalists preparing their original "main dish cornbread recipe."

The winner will receive a FiveStar professional 30-inch stainless steel all-gas range, a $5,000 cash prize, and other goodies from Martha White and Lodge Cast Iron.  

In 2013, Lorie Roach—a chef and blogger from Buckatunna, Miss.— won the contest with her recipe for roasted poblano chicken posole with floating corncake islands.

Organizers received hundreds of recipes for consideration from as far away as Wisconsin and Maine.

Customers may buy and sample nine different cornbread dishes at Cornbread Alley. 

Rhonda Vincent and the Rage will perform Sunday at 1 p.m.

A complete schedule is available here.