If you’ve ever wanted to eat authentic cowboy fixins straight off a chuck wagon, the Chuck Wagon Invitational, a part of the Southeastern Cowboy Gathering, might just be made for you.
The Gathering: The Southeastern Cowboy Gathering is held on the grounds of The Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville and features a cowboy church service, the Chuck Wagon Invitational and a Cowboy concert, just to name a few of the happenings during the three day festival. This year was the 15th annual cowboy gathering, touted as your opportunity to explore the West without leaving the South.
The Chuck Wagon Invitational: This year, the invitational featured four chuck wagons. Each wagon serves up some form of steak, potatoes, pinto beans, biscuits and peach cobbler, however they cook them in different ways. Your best bet if you get a hankerin’ to attend this event in the future is to walk around and explore, see which wagon’s offerings look the most appetizing to you, and then buy your meal ticket. You have to specify which wagon you’ll be eating from when you buy your ticket, so it is best to look around first.
Each wagon is only allowed to cook using ingredients and utensils that were available to cowboys in the wild west, so not only do you get an authentic cowboy meal, you get to see how that meal was cooked before the invention of deep-friers, crock pots and other modern conveniences. It is billed as the largest chuck wagon gathering East of the Mississippi, and in true cowboy fashion, lunch is served at high noon.
In addition to the food, there are cowboy hats as far as the eye can see, cowboy demonstrations like how to use a whip, great photo opportunities and fun, upbeat western music. The event gives a good glimpse into what life was like on a typical morning in the Old West — as long as you can ignore the trailers, cars and modern surroundings.
Cost: Meal ticket prices are quite steep. Regardless of which wagon you choose the cost is $17.50. The portions are Texas-sized, so if you’re totin’ kids with you, it is recommended you get tickets for the adults and share with the kids.
When will it be back?: Look for the Cowboy Gathering to mosey back up this way next March.