The 4th Annual MO Mac & Cheese Fest in Springfield invites you to eat your fill of cheesy comfort food on Saturday, January 13, 2024.  Sample the 21 creations showcased at this year’s event and meet this year’s MO Mac & Cheese king and queen!

By Sandy Selby

Nothing brings sunshine to a cold winter day like a delicious bite of warm, gooey mac & cheese. You’ll find lots of those bites at the 4th Annual MO Mac & Cheese Fest taking place from 11 AM to 2 PM this Saturday, January 13, at the University Plaza Convention Center (333 S. John Q. Hammons Parkway) in Springfield.

The festival, hosted by Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation (OACAC), offers unlimited sampling of mac & cheese that has been prepared with creativity and flair by the participating restaurants and groups. Attendees go from booth to booth getting samples, and at the end of their cheese-tastic voyage, they are invited to cast their votes for the People’s Choice awards. Other award winners are selected by a panel of judges, who will choose winners in two categories: Classic Mac and Out-of-the-Box (creative interpretations of the dish).

The event, which began in 2019, was initially inspired by similar festivals in other parts of the country. “Southwest Missouri really likes our food festivals,” says Lindsey Dumas-Bell, the resource development manager for OACAC. “There was barbecue, wings, chocolate … but there wasn’t mac & cheese, and people really like mac & cheese!”

The festivities include live music from Luce Cannons. There will also be a fun zone where youngsters will enjoy face painting, balloon animals, and Nerf battles. The MO Mac & Cheese king and queen will be circulating through the crowd and posing for photo ops. This year’s king and queen are volunteers with OACAC’s Foster Grandparent program.

The 2024 festival is presented by Schreiber Foods and Summit Media and will feature 15 vendors dishing up 21 different interpretations of golden, cheesy goodness. Tickets are available in advance for $15 (individual) or $50 (Mac 4-Pack) until the end of the day on January 12, or $20 at the door. (Children 4 and younger are admitted free.) Procrastinators beware! If you wait too long, there’s a chance you’ll arrive and find that tickets are sold out and your mac & cheese dreams have been dashed.

Your ticket entitles you to unlimited mac & cheese sampling and access to all other vendor booths and the fun zone. A cash bar will be available for the purchase of soda and alcohol.

Proceeds benefit the good work being done by OACAC, which strives to alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty in Southwest Missouri.

Tickets are available now at

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