Fried chicken lovers, dig in. The National Fried Chicken Festival announced plans to add an extra day of finger-licking chicken, when the fest returns to Woldenberg Riverfront Park on Sept. 20 to Sept. 22.
Festival organizers say they decided to expand the festival from two to three days “following last year’s wildly successful event.” Organizers say the 2018 festival drew more than 177,000 attendees.
“We are extremely excited to be expanding the festival following an overwhelming response over the last three years,” festival founder Cleveland Spears, III said. “We started this festival as a way to bring people of all backgrounds together around something that has always united people in the most authentic way, food. The addition of this third day will give people both here in Louisiana and across the entire United States another opportunity to attend, in addition to significantly increasing the economic impact for local businesses.”
The annual festival features restaurants from around the country frying a mix of traditional and creative finger-licking poultry dishes.
In 2018, more than 35 restaurants from across the state and country served up a unique and wide variety of dishes, including the festival’s first vegan fried chicken vendor Atlas Monroe from California. Organizers say they expect even more for 2019.
Last year, top honors went to McHardy’s Chicken and Fixin’s for “Best Fried Chicken” and first time vendor Blue Oak BBQ winning “Best Use of Fried Chicken in a Dish.”
The 2019 National Fried Chicken Festival will feature celebrity chefs giving cooking demonstrations on stage and showcasing how they prepare their famous fried chicken recipes.
Also returning for its third year, the Football Fan Zone will provide College and NFL Football viewing for festival-goers, including a beer tasting garden featuring craft beer selections from around the world.
The festival will also present the annual “Culinary Icon Award” to a nationally-recognized chef who has made a significant impact in the culinary industry with fried chicken being at the center of their culinary offerings. The 2018 “Culinary Icon Award” recipient was Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘n Waffles Founder, Herb Hudson.
The free outdoor festival will include a variety of experiences and fun activities for all ages.
A full list of participating celebrity chefs will be announced in August.