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Spring Chicken Festival an ode to poultry pride
Visitors enjoy parade and lots of chicken at downtown event
The Fair Street International Baccalaureate World School float passes by spectators Saturday in downtown Gainesville during the Chicken City Parade in downtown Gainesville. - photo by Tom Reed

“Chicken” was the word Saturday in downtown Gainesville as locals and visitors flocked to the eighth annual Spring Chicken Festival sponsored by Keep Hall Beautiful.

The day’s events kicked off with the Spring Chicken Festival 5K, which coincided with the grand opening of the Midtown Greenway. Participants were able to get some of the first use out of the trails that line the green-

Cindy Reed, executive director of the Spring Chicken Festival for the past four years, talked about the significance of the greenway opening and the 5K taking place together.

“I think it is a great partnership between city of Gainesville, Lanier Running Club and Keep Hall Beautiful. What a great way to showcase the importance of people using the greenway and enjoying the great outdoors.”

Shortly after the start of the 5K, festivalgoers strolled the streets of downtown that were lined with 16 Chicken City Cook-Off tents, 18 arts and crafts vendors

and musical performances by the Gainesville State College Jazz Ensemble and local band SR53.

Attendees were also able to watch the second annual Chicken City Parade, stroll through a quarter-mile of quilts created by the Hall County Quilt Guild and watch children take turns with pony rides and face painting.

Rick Foote, president of Keep Hall Beautiful, said the festival is important because “it recognizes what Gainesville is known for as poultry capital of the world. There was no festival recognizing this historical significance of the industry that brought this area out of the Great Depression.”

The festival is also important for families who make attending a tradition, such as for Flowery Branch resident Sue Criswell, who was at the festival for the second year in a row.

“The food is our favorite part because I have two boys, and they’re never full,” she commented as son, Evan, 11, was figuring out what flavors to get on his ice treat.

Evan agreed by saying, “My favorite part is eating.”

Proceeds generated from the festival go to Keep Hall Beautiful’s Tree Replacement Fund as well as providing environmental education programs for local schools.