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The birds the word at Spring Chicken Festival
Gainesville event celebrates everything poultry Gainesville, with food, parade, 5K race
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Scott Stowers of the Gainesville Fire Department prepares a fresh batch of the department’s “controlled burn” hot wings at last year’s Spring Chicken Festival in downtown Gainesville.

Spring Chicken Festival

When: 10 a.m. 4 p.m. Saturday, April 28

Where: Downtown Gainesville

How much: Free family activities; admission to cook-off sample area $10 adults, $5 children, ages 4 and younger free

Contact: 770-531-1102

Spring Chicken Festival 5K

When: Saturday; registration and packet pickup begins at 7:30 a.m., race begins at 9 a.m.

Where: Wild Wing Cafe parking lot, 311 Jesse Jewell Parkway SW, Gainesville

How much: $25 per person

Contact: Call 770-533-1128, visit www.active.com to register

This weekend, downtown Gainesville will be a flurry of activities proving why Hall County is the “Poultry Capital of the World.”

Where else will you find an entire festival dedicated to the yard bird?

The annual Spring Chicken Festival will open at 10 a.m. Saturday on the downtown square with an opening ceremony that includes a welcome from Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan and the “Star Spangled Banner” performed by McKenna Brandenburg.

“The festival features the official cook-off for the state of Georgia,” said Cindy Reed, executive director of Keep Hall Beautiful, which organizes the festival.

Included will be arts-and-crafts vendors and a kids’ area with pony rides and face painting. Gainesville State College Jazz Ensemble and the local band SR53 will provide live music.

The festival will include the Chicken Feathers Quilt Show, a quarter-mile worth of notions created by the Hall County Quilt Guild.

The second annual Chicken City Parade will begin at 11 a.m. on Washington Street close to Suntrust Bank and circle the downtown square, Reed said.

Among other things, the parade will feature a “recycled float” contest.

In addition, there will be free family activities and an opportunity to taste some of the creations of the cook off teams. Admission into the chicken cook-off sample area is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 and older. Younger children are admitted free.

The festival is a fundraiser for Keep Hall Beautiful, which coordinates various beautification projects and environmental education events throughout the community.

Early risers can get a jump-start on the poultry party by running in the Spring Chicken Festival 5K race. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday in the parking lot of Wild Wing Cafe at 311 Jesse Jewell Parkway SW in Gainesville. The race will begin at 9 a.m.

There is a $25 registration fee, with proceeds benefitting the Lanier Running Club.

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