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12th annual Spring Chicken Festival set for April 30
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Corey Trowbridge hands David White a sample at the fajitas booth during last year’s annual Spring Chicken Festival in downtown Gainesville. Twenty teams competed to become the grand champion and win the Chicken City Cup for one year. - photo by Get Out file photo

Spring Chicken Festival and Chicken Cook-off
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 30; 5K race begins at 9 a.m.
Where: downtown Gainesville square
Cost: Free; $5 cluck card; $25-$35 for race
More info: www.gainesville.org/spring-chicken-festival

Chickens are a source of food as well as jobs for many residents of Gainesville and Hall County.

Now it will be a source for fun as Main Street Gainesville hosts the Spring Chicken Festival and Chicken Cook-off in conjunction with Keep Hall Beautiful.

The free festival will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 30, in downtown Gainesville. It will launch with the Chickiden 5-kilometer run at 9 a.m. followed by the barbecue cook-off.

Now in its 12th year, the chicken festival has more than two dozen cook teams registered for the cooking competition.

“We are Georgia’s official chicken cook-off,” Main Street manager Regina Mansfield said.

Two divisions, professional and backyard BBQ, will compete for grand prizes of $1,000 and take home the Chicken City Cup.

Attendees may sample the barbecue chicken by purchasing a “cluck card” for $5. Each card has a space for 10 stamps, or 10 samples from any competitor.

“You’ll get good portions … like a wing,” Mansfield said.

The cluck cards are also used as a ballot for deciding the people’s choice award, regardless of the division.

Sonny’s BBQ will supply the side items and other fare for this year’s festival.

But before the cooking begins, runners will race along the streets of Gainesville in the Chickiden, or Spring Chicken Festival 5K, starting at Recess restaurant, 118 Bradford St. NW, in Gainesville. All ages may participate. Runners will receive long-sleeve T-shirts at registration while supplies last.

To sign up for the race, visit www.runsignup.com and searching “Spring Chicken Festival.” Registration costs $35 or $25 without the T-shirt. To register by mail, make check to “Lanier Running Club” and mail a completed form to: Lanier Running Club, PO Box 13, Gainesville, GA 30501.

For more information on the race, contact Mike Lunsford at 770-533-1128 or mikeat4833ssd@att.net.

After the race, the Chicken City Parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the intersection of Washington and Green Streets. It will include more than 30 vintage cars as well as chicken-themed floats, Mansfield said.

Participants have been encouraged to use recycled materials as much as possible.

Recycled materials will also be featured in the Re-Hatched Market on the square.

“The (Quinlan Visual Arts Center) … took over coordinating Re-Hatched,” Mansfield said.

Re-Hatched is a series of vendors through Quinlan selling recycled and upcycled items and art. Proceeds will benefit Quinlan and provide scholarships for children who might not be able to attend art camps in the summer.

Children attending the festival may participate in crafts led by Quinlan, featuring activities such as face painting and sand art.

All proceeds from the festival will benefit Main Street Gainesville and Keep Hall Beautiful, an organization that works toward environmental protection and conservation in the Hall County area.

“All proceeds go back into the community,” Mansfield said.

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