There have been many inventions that changed the world: Electricity. Indoor plumbing. The telephone. The computer. The internet. But one innovation was so cutting edge for its time, it merits an annual celebration. And you can be a part of it!

Photo credit: Ashton Bingham, Unsplash

By Peg Cameron Gill

You don’t want to loaf around and miss this. Load up the family and head to Chillicothe on July 8 to celebrate the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well actually, to celebrate sliced bread! Which was invented at the Chillicothe Baking Company in 1928. The event began in 2018, to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the company. 

Chillicothe remains quite proud of its place in food fame, and its legendary loaf innovation. At the town’s annual Sliced Bread Day celebration, sliced bread is the toast of the town.

Speaking of toast, 2023’s Sliced Bread Day celebration will kick off with the Greatest Breakfast Since Sliced Bread (French Toast) from 7–10:30 AM at the LICOVA Building. A veritable buffet of bread-based activities and events will happen after that.

You can cheer on the racers at the Ready, Set, Bread 5K. Ooh and ahh over cute Baby Baker contestants​ ages newborn to under 4. Contestants are encouraged to wear their cutest “baby baker” costume, but with no makeup. One cute baby baker will win $25 cash, a sliced bread stuffed animal, and a sash. The winner will ride in the Sliced Bread Day Parade, along with the winners of the Sliced Bread Prince and Princess, Sliced Bread Miss, and Sliced Bread Queen or King pageants.

Photo credit: Home of Sliced Bread Corp.

At 10 AM, enjoy an old fashioned parade through downtown, stepping off from the Home of Sliced Bread.

Right after the Sliced Bread Parade, attend a fascinating special program at 10:30 AM at the  Livingston County Library. In a “Slice of History,” Nancy Boswell will be on hand in full costume to discuss the life of historical figure Laura Ingalls Wilder as she details her move to Missouri and why she wrote the Little House on the Prairie series. 

​​Other fun includes a Bread Olympics, a Bread Baking Contest, Make and Take activities (like making free cookies. Yum!), and a Chill Zone with misters, shade, water games, and a free popsicle.

Photo credit: Home of Sliced Bread Corp.

What is the next greatest thing since sliced bread? Find out at the town’s Innovation Fair. View the winners and find out which hopeful entrants will be awarded cash prizes.​

That night at 7 PM tap your toes at a Slice of Home Concert given by a group of talented home-grown musicians at Blackwater Restaurant. 

Of course, while you’re in Chillicothe, you’ll want to browse the Sliced Bread Mercantile, and visit the Grand River Museum. Visitors are welcome at the museum all day, and after 2 PM you can see bread machine cutting and enjoy bread samples.

Although the very first machine used to slice bread on that historic day in 1928 has since fallen apart, the museum has the second one used on display. The Sliced Bread Innovation Center also houses one of the original machines. The center is in the historic building that housed the Chillicothe Baking Company, and has been lovingly restored. 

A bit of background about the Chillicothe Baking Company:

Sliced bread was initially sold by baker Frank Bench, using Iowa inventor Otto Rohwedder’s bread slicing machine, at Bench’s Chillicothe Baking Company on July 7, 1928.

Rohwedder and Bench gambled and it paid off: Bread sales rose faster than a batch of bread made with quick rising yeast—a whopping 2000 percent in the first two weeks! 

The rest, as they say, is history. Or a slice of it. 

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.