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Visitor ‘arrested’ for eating chicken with fork

POSTED: July 20, 2009 11:27 p.m.
SARA GUEVARA/The Times

In 1961, Gainesville passed an ordinance that made eating fried chicken with anything but one's fingers in Gainesville a crime.

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Ginny Dietrick fought the law Monday. But this time, she won.

The Louisiana resident was celebrating her 91st birthday by enjoying a lunch of Longstreet Cafe’s finest fried chicken Monday when Gainesville Police Chief Frank Hooper told Dietrick to put down her fork and listen up — she was under arrest.

Hooper informed Dietrick that it’s against city ordinance to eat fried chicken, “a culinary delicacy sacred to this municipality, this county, this state, the Southland and this republic,” with anything other than your fingers. The 1961 ordinance was put on city books as a sort of public relations stunt to promote Gainesville as the poultry capital of the world, Hooper said.

Dietrick had Gainesville resident and friend A.C. Marshall to thank for the practical joke. Dietrick can also thank Marshall for setting up her pardon.

Gainesville Mayor Myrtle Figueras was on hand at Longstreet Cafe to dismiss the charges of improper poultry consumption against Dietrick.

And Abit Massey, president-emeritus of the Georgia Poultry Federation, ordained Dietrick an Honorary Georgia Poultry Princess.
Figueras let her off easy.

“You are required to come back to Gainesville often and are required to eat lots of Gainesville chicken,” Figueras told her.

Dietrick said in all of her 91 years, this was her first run in with the law “except for a ticket I got once way back in the ’40s — something about parking,” she said.

Dietrick’s arrest citation ordered her not to get up from the table until she mastered the proper techniques for consuming this succulent delicacy, “down to and including the licking of the fingers upon the ingestion of the last available morsel.”



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