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Chicken-Fried Festin'

If the repressive summer heat leaves you feeling a bit cooped up, you can run afoul (or more accurately, a fowl) this fall at the second annual National Fried Chicken Festival. Today the team behind FCF dropped some finger-lickin' facts about the fall fest. 


The Fried Chicken Fest is set to take place on Saturday (9.23) and Sunday (9.24) in Woldenberg Park. The event will feature two stages dedicated to live music, another hosting cooking demos with presentations by celebrity chefs, a henhouse full of fried chicken, plus lots of other food, champagne, shade, and fans to cool you down.


The festival happenings will occur all day during the weekend; however the celebration is sure to pack the streets of the downtown and the Quarter late into the night. Last year, the event drew an unexpected 40,000 attendees to Lafayette Square. At one point, there famously was a 100+ person line to get some of Willie Mae's world famous fried chicken. To accommodate for the large reception of fried aficianado, the festival is relocating to Woldenberg Park, in between the Audubon Aquarium and the Moonwalk. Organizers are expecting over 100,000 attendees for the 2017 fest. 


If you’re not accustomed to indulging in a little fried fowl after church on Sundays, as is the case with most southerners, Fried Chicken Fest is sure to offer some experiences that are more up your alley. One could instead opt for, say, some butterbeans and cornbread, or satisfy a sugar fix at the Sucré Sweet Stop for some chocolate dipped macarons and other sweet treats prepared by chef Tariq Hanna. Still feeling a bit peckish? This year's lineup will also feature 35 food vendors from across the country, serving up a variety of complimentary food. 


Though admission to the festival is free, VIP tickets can be purchased $60 a pop. This VIP Pass offers the added incentives of exclusive seating next to the main stage with private viewing and onstage access, one Belvedere Specialty cocktail, and one dish from Willy Mae’s. It also includes seemingly endless amounts of fried chicken’s favorite companion— champagne.


If you just want to keep cool, you can lounge on the furniture in the GoNOLA Mist & Chill Lounge sponsored by the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation (NOTMC). There is also an AT&T and Best Buy Football Fanzone that ensures no fan will miss a minute of their favorite college or NFL teams.


The cooking demo stage is to be led by Food Network star and New York Times best-selling author, chef Jeff Henderson. Chef Jeff has become one of America’s favorite chefs for his interesting life story, as documented in his best-selling memoir, Cooked. Before finding fame as the Belagio’s executive chef, he was the victim of a gang-related stabbing and served ten years in prison for cocaine distribution where he self-taught himself to cook. He was able to turn his life around by cooking for his fellow inmates, and is one of the most inspirational television figures in America appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, The Montel Williams Show, CNBC, NPR's All Things Considered, and in People Magazine and USA Today.


Other than the mountains of fried cockerel, collard greens, and other grease-laden southern delicacies that accompany a typical weekend down south, no festival in the Big Easy is complete without a sweet soundtrack. If the performance is anything like last year’s (and it is only expected to be bigger and better this year), we can expect appearances from some of the hottest bands in town. 


Fried Chicken Fest promises to explore the enormous complexities of fried chicken further in depth than anyone with a healthy heart ever could imagine. One lucky, glutted patron will be crowned champion of the Fried Chicken Tenders Eating Contest, although anyone who can down a catering tray full of Cane’s chicken tenders is already a winner in our book. As the festival comes to an end, local and national food writers and critics will behold the most perfect golden-fried chicken leg of them all to determine who is the true king of the South’s favorite soul food in the Best Fried Chicken contest.


Presented by the Louisiana-born fast food chain Raising Cane’s, FCF is also organized/presented by the Spears Group. Other contributors who have made this possible are NOLA Brewery, NOTMC, New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network, The Advocate, Southern Glaziers, Willie's Chicken Shack, Event Rentals, Event Restroom, iHeart Media, WWL-TV and 


The 2017 Fried Chicken Festival promises to turn into an even huger event in the next couple years. The fest was wildly popular last year, and this year promises to be bigger and better than last year’s in just about every way. If you don’t like fried chicken, music, soul food, delectable sweets, football, family activities, or champagne … well, what do you like?! 



Fried Chicken Festival

Saturday (9.23), 11AM-9PM

Sunday (9.24), 11AM-8PM

Woldenberg Park

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Linzi Falk

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