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It’s official: Chicken cook-off is state’s main event

POSTED: April 12, 2009 11:15 p.m.
/For The Times

Organizers and supporters of the Spring Chicken Festival stand with, from left, state Rep. Doug Collins, state Sen. Lee Hawkins, state Rep. James Mills and state Rep. Carl Rogers recently at the Georgia Capitol.

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It seems only fitting that the chicken cook-off in the Poultry Capital of the World would be the state’s official chicken cooking event.

The fifth annual contest officially has been recognized by the Georgia General Assembly as the official chicken cook-off for the state of Georgia.

The April 25 demonstration of poultry preparation prowess has become the signature event of the Spring Chicken Festival, which has been held in Gainesville for the past four years.

Cooks will compete in a number of categories ranging from wings to smoked, grilled and barbecued chicken. And all chicken must be cooked on site at Roosevelt Square, located behind the Georgia Mountains Center in downtown Gainesville.

The resolution, introduced by Sen. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville, pays homage to the event, which will be featured on Georgia Public Television’s "Georgia Traveler" series.

"In keeping with the fine tradition of the Georgia Poultry Federation, the Spring Chicken Festival and Chicken City Cook Off strive to educate and entertain the public while elevating Gainesville and Hall County’s status as the Poultry Capital of the World," the resolution states.

The resolution, which was passed by both houses of the General Assembly, also notes Gainesville’s role as the birthplace of the modern poultry industry.

The proceeds from the event will benefit Keep Hall Beautiful, the local affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, and will be used for local tree replacement.

"This is an exciting event that raises money for a good cause," said Cindy Reed, director of Keep Hall Beautiful. "It is also an opportunity for groups to raise money for their organization since we award over $2,000 in prize money to the winners."

If you want to eat rather than compete, $8 buys a wristband for samples for public tasting and other menu items will be available from vendors.

Other events that are part of the Spring Chicken Festival include the Rubber chickEkiden, which is a marathon distance team relay running event featuring rubber chicken batons, A Quarter Mile of Quilts, Woodturners’ Convention, live music and children’s activities.

And what would chicken be without an ice-cold glass of sweet tea to wash it down?

"Y’alls Sweet Tea Challenge" also will be part of the day’s events, put on by Y’all Magazine, the Lake Lanier Convention & Visitors Bureau and Amtrak. Local judges will be giving four awards: "best commercial tea," open to any restaurant; "best individual tea," open to any individual; "most unique tea," open to anyone; and "best Yankee tea" or most tolerable unsweet tea, also open to anyone.

The tea must be delivered to the Y’all Magazine tent by 10 a.m. April 25.



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