In 1917, Earl Mitchell found himself at a general store in the Kentucky Appalachians pitching baked goods to coal miners. After the traveling salesman for the Chattanooga Bakery finished his spiel, one of the miners spoke up.
“These all sound good and everything, but seeing how we don’t get a lunch break, we need something bigger.”
“How big exactly?” asked Mitchell.
The miner held his hands up and made a big circle with his fingers and thumbs. “Well,” he answered, “what we need is something as big as the moon.”
That night, Mitchell relayed the miner’s story back to headquarters. Soon after, the bakery joined two round graham crackers with a creamy marshmallow center and dipped it all in chocolate. Taking inspiration from the miner, they called their new snack the “MoonPie.”
It became an immediate success among the miners. Not only did it fit in their lunch pails, but it was also pretty filling for only a nickel. Other Americans seemed to love it, too, and by 1929, the Chattanooga Bakery was making hundreds of MoonPies a day.
Mobile and MoonPies
Mobile has been celebrating Mardi Gras since 1703, back when it was the first capital of French Louisiana. In 1711, the city kicked-off the festive event with 16 men carting a large papier-mâché cow’s head down the street. It was the city’s first Mardi Gras parade.
However, even when the capital (and subsequently Mardi Gras) was moved to New Orleans in 1718, the Mobile parade continued.
Fast forward to Mobile, Alabama, 1952. That’s when float organizers began looking for something a little softer than the Cracker Jacks boxes they’d been throwing parade-goers. Luckily, some members of a local ladies auxiliary found the solution.
While in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for a convention, the ladies came across MoonPies. They found them to be soft, but weighty enough that the ladies could toss them with some accuracy. Most importantly, they were also economical. When they added all that up, MoonPies were just the thing they were looking for. Eventually, the novelty caught on with all of Mobile’s Mardi Gras paraders.
Today, the people of Mobile eat around four million MoonPies a year. Nearly 500,000 of those get tossed to parade-goers.
MoonPie Over Mobile
In 2008, the people of Mobile decided, “Hey, why should we save all of this MoonPie fun for Mardi Gras?” Thus began the tradition of dropping a MoonPie on New Year’s Eve. Every year since, Mobile has dropped its 600 pound electric MoonPie from RSA Trustmark building to ring in the year.
Oh, but the MoonPie fun doesn’t stop there. Every year since 2008, they’ve also baked the world’s largest MoonPie. At 55 pounds (and 45,000 calories), almost every New Year’s Eve reveler is guaranteed to get a slice.
Festivities begin at 11am on New Year’s Eve in Mardi Gras Park. These include a MoonPie drop for kids at noon, but it’s at night when the real party begins. That’s when the parades and contests start, followed by the cutting of the gigantic MoonPie.
Several musical acts take the stage from 8:30 to midnight. This year’s lineup includes opening acts Levon Gray & Grey Area 51 and Red Clay Strays. Headlining the 2022 event is ’90s sensation Third Eye Blind.
The real show begins at midnight with the countdown to the New Year and MoonPie drop. This is followed by fireworks and a laser light show welcoming all to 2023.
For more information, click here for the event listing. 🌊
If You’re Going, Go! Gulf States and Stuckey’s
Are you planning a road trip to Mobile or just passing through? Then check out more fun things to see and do along America’s third coast at Go! Gulf States.
No matter where you’re going in the Gulf States this holiday weekend, be sure to take Stuckey’s along with you. We’ve got all of your favorite road trip snacks like our iconic Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls and Pecan Pralines.
Of course, during this recent colder-than-usual winter weather, stay warm with Stuckey’s merch like our branded hoodies and beanies. Wear them while you’re sipping on your favorite hot beverage of choice from a Stuckey’s mug.
If it’s along America’s third coast, let Go! Gulf States and Stuckey’s help get you where you’re going.
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips (and Holidays) Fun Again!