It is unclear as to the origin of “doodle soup” but is thought to date back as early as the 1800s when it was served to the soldiers in the Civil War. Some believe the name may have been derived from the “doodle wagons” that traveled through West Tennessee selling a variety of goods.
Today, there are many variations of the soup. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Bradford Chamber of Commerce designated Mrs. Vivian Pierce’s version of the soup as the official recipe of the Doodle Soup Festival during celebrations of that time.
THE START OF THE DOODLE SOUP FESTIVAL
Doodle Soup Days is an annual event held in Bradford, Tennessee. The town became known for its “doodle soup” in 1957 and was tagged as “Doodle Soup Capital of the World” after a reporter asked the school principal what made Bradford famous.
Doodle soup gained recognition in the 1970s in Bradford when Millard R. Hampton would cook large vats of his special recipe soup and his fellow Lions Club members transported and sold the soup at the City Park. It became a huge success and the Doodle Soup Festival was born.
The first official Bradford Doodle Soup Festival was held on July 20, 1980. Over 30 gallons of doodle soup along with broiled chicken, barbecue, sauce, crackers, and biscuits. Main attractions still include a parade, singings, cake walk and, of course, the serving of doodle soup.
For most of the 1990s, the festival was discontinued, but never forgotten. In 2000, the Bradford Lions and Lioness Clubs reestablished the festival as Bradford Doodle Soup Days and organized the event until 2014. In 2015, a newly formed committee took over the festival after many of the founding Lions Club members passed away. Visit our Contact Us page to connect with a committee member if you have a question or inquiring about a specific event.