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Gainesville Fire Department rules chicken-cooking contest

POSTED: April 27, 2009 11:45 p.m.
For The Times/

A team from the Gainesville Fire Department took top honors in Saturday's Spring Chicken Festival chicken cook-off. The team won the Grand Champion award for placing first in the wings and speciality categories and second in chicken. The team, pictured from left, was Deputy Chief Jerome Yarbrough, Blake Truelove, Russ Grizzle, Preston Barrett, David Gibbs, Dustin Oliver, Todd Summer, Zach Nix, Derrick Rogers, Chief Jon Canada and Stacey Baker.

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Gainesville Fire Department cleaned up at Saturday’s Spring Chicken Festival, winning three awards and taking home the Grand Champion prize for its finger-licking chicken cooking.

The festival is Georgia’s official chicken cook-off and a fundraiser for Keep Hall Beautiful.

Fire Chief Jon Canada said it was the team’s first year entering the festival, and the fire department’s team members already have plans to win the trophy again at next year’s competition.

"Firemen can cook," Canada said. "We’re getting ideas to get ready for next year now. There’s a lot of people gunning for us now."

The secret to the department’s success was simplicity, said cook Dustin Oliver.

"We just kept it simple, really," Oliver said. "We all know how to cook; that’s the way we cook up here (at the station) so we just went with that."

The North American Chicken Grillers Association International team won the People’s Choice Award and Lazy Bear BarBQ won the Showmanship prize.

Professional teams and backyard barbecue teams could compete in three categories: wings, speciality and chicken.

Keep Hall Beautiful Executive Director Cindy Reed announced the winners of Saturday’s Spring Chicken Festival on Monday. Reed said it’s still unclear how much money the festival raised for Keep Hall Beautiful’s replacement tree fund, but nearly 1,000 people came to sample the barbecue stylings of 16 local teams.

According to a zip code survey conducted by the Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors Bureau as part of the festival’s sweet tea competition, people turned out from 37 towns across Georgia and from seven states.

The professional winners in the wings category were: First place, Rub-N-Alcohol; Second place, Lazy Bear BarBQ; Third place, Boss Sauce.

The backyard barbecue winners in the wings category were: First place, Gainesville Fire Department; Second place, I Like Chicken with My Chicken; Third place, North American Chicken Grillers Association International.

The professional winners in the speciality category were: First place, Georgia Mountain Food Bank; Second place, A.J.’s Food, Fun & Friends; Third place, Scott’s on the Square.

The backyard barbecue winners in the speciality category were: First place, Gainesville Fire Department; Second place, Chicken Pit Special; Third place, I Like Chicken with My Chicken.

The professional winners in the chicken category were: First place, A.J.’s Food, Fun & Friends; Second place, Georgia Mountain Food Bank; Third place, Lazy Bear BarBQ.

The backyard barbecue winners in the chicken category were: First place, I Like Chicken with My Chicken; Second place, Gainesville Fire Department; Third place, Queen Capital Group.



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