For those not already in the know, Cosmo is Cosmo Cornbread—the crooning focal point of the 16.5 x 140-foot mural Steven Otis, with assistance from Shannon Wallace Norman, painted on the wall of a building facing The Root Cafe’s parking lot in 2012. This colorful street art piece depicts everyone’s favorite skillet serenading adoring fruit and veggie fans on a galactic stage, where comets, stars and rockets seem peculiarly close. Grinning ear-to-ear, Cosmo’s colorful fans include a bespectacled apple and a multiocular Mr. Potato Head with a little spud in tow.
In 2015, Cosmo’s fandom grew larger with his 4-D evolution, allowing free-range mingling and photo-ops with delighted festivalgoers. Wondering who's under that cast-iron exterior? Local high school student Rory Jones has donned the Cosmo costume for three years running.
Flat Cosmo is the beloved mascot’s latest form, but don’t let his shallow façade fool you. His lack of depth and super-portability has only skyrocketed his star power. Flat as a fritter, this ultra-sleek version has been a regular Cornbread About Town, popping up in photos at coffee shops, gift shops, yarn shops, and more. Just search #flatcosmo to see for yourself.
Through the years, Cosmo has emblazoned signs, t-shirts, aprons, award ribbons, and coloring sheets. At the late-September ticket launch party, his likeness was spotted (and devoured) on a delicious cake from Community Bakery. Cosmo will be front-and-center again on this year’s awards, which Rich Carlson has been busy hand-crafting, and we can’t wait to see the finished product.
Want to take your own #flatcosmo or #cosmocornbread selfie? Head out to SoMa for the eighth annual Arkansas Cornbread Festival on Saturday, October 27. Cosmo, in his many incarnations, will be easy to spot, as will all the southern cornbread, side items, and local live music you can stand. Two stages will feature the talents of Arkansas artists Brick Fields, Charles Woods and the Element, Bonnie Montgomery, John Burnette, and Ten Penny Gypsy.
Bonding over comfort food and soulful tunes at the Arkansas Cornbread Festival has been a SoMa tradition since 2011. Admission is free and open to the public. If you want to sample the contestants’ creations (and you will) and vote for your favorite, get your $8 tasting ticket in advance at https://www.arkansascornbreadfestival.com/tickets/, or for $10 at the event.