Spring Chicken Festival
What: Chicken cook-off and parade
When: April 30
Where: Downtown Gainesville
More info: Click here; download a parade registration form here, too
With a parade added to the festivities, Keep Hall Beautiful officials can only imagine how many pounds of chicken will be served at this year's Spring Chicken Festival.
Executive Director Cindy Reed ordered 4,300 pounds last year, and cooking teams handed out sample after sample. As teams rushed in for Thursday's deadline to enter the contest, they wondered how to handle the chicken celebration coming up April 30.
"One team said that although the rain last year was just awful, they still cooked 300 pounds," Reed said. "If we have beautiful weather, they don't know what they're going to do."
Good weather combined with the parade could put the event over the top.
Officials kicked off the festivities Thursday night by unveiling 15 chicken-related art pieces during the Fowl Art Show at Frames You-Nique. The works will stay on display until April 30.
Reed is now assigning spaces, ordering chicken and accepting applications for the Chicken City Parade.
One part of the parade will be for school groups to enter floats in which at least 60 percent of the material is recycled.
"I'm excited about the contest open to school groups ... And we'll give prizes for the best float," Reed said. "I'd also love to see more marching bands and a group dressed up as chickens to walk in the parade. We could let them stop and do a chicken dance. That would be hilarious."
Floats will line up at the SunTrust on E.E. Butler Parkway at 7:30 a.m. April 30. City officials are still taking float registrations, and participants can sign up under categories such as school group, nonprofit, business, organization, antique auto, antique tractor or walking unit.
Under the parade regulations, those riding in cars can't throw candy, balloons or brochures from a moving vehicle, and passengers can't dismount a float before the parade ends. No animal entries are allowed.
The registration deadline is April 20, and several groups have already signed up, including an all-terrain vehicle group, classic car owners and a quilt guild.
"In past years, there was a poultry parade that was a huge event for the community, but it dissolved for some reason," said Angela Thompson, Main Street manager. "We were always interested in bringing it back and decided it should be this year."
Thompson, who is organizing the lineup, has learned more than she ever wanted to know about parades.
"Whatever certification you could have for parades, I would have that," she said with a laugh. "Really, it has been a wonderful experience to learn another part of hosting events for the downtown. I think everybody will love it."