Saturday, December 9, 2023

Delmarva Chicken Festival celebrates 100 years of growing broilers

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SALISBURY, Md. — The Delmarva Chicken Festival, brought back to life to celebrate 100 years of growing chicken on Delmarva, will take place Saturday, Oct. 7, from 1-7 p.m. at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Md. Admission to the event is free. The festival is organized by Delmarva Chicken Association, which advocates for the common good of the chicken community in Delaware, the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Attractions at the 2023 Delmarva Chicken Festival will include food vendors, an open-air marketplace, kids activities (including touch-a-truck exhibits, a petting zoo, and bounce houses), a “Walk Through History” tent with historical displays, a virtual reality tour of a chicken farm, baby chicks for visitors to hold, a chicken pickin’ competition, two stages with programming, a beer tent, and more.

Live music will be performed throughout the day by The Jones Boys, Jimmy Charles, and Mike Hines & The Look on the Pohanka of Salisbury Automotive Group Stage. The ‘Chicken Capers’ contests, which pit teams of chicken company employees against each other in competitive games, are returning for the 2023 event. You won’t want to miss Wing War on the Shore, a hot wings eating contest sponsored by Avery Hall Insurance, or the Miss Delmarva Chicken Festival Pageant. A fireworks show presented by Marydel Ag Supply will round out the event at 7 p.m.

With 15 food trucks on hand, no one will leave the Delmarva Chicken Festival hungry. Honoring the festival’s tradition of not-to-be-missed fried chicken, the Salisbury Lion’s Club will be serving chicken prepared in their famous large frying pan, and tasty offerings from many other food vendors will be available, including Phat Boyz Catering, Petes PeteZa, Get BAKED Food Trolley, Big Bad Wolf Bacon, Waffle n Drizzle, and The Street Kitchen, along with a beer tent. Visitors can also browse a marketplace and community service showcase with more than 50 vendors.

Delmarva’s five chicken companies — Allen Harim Foods, Amick Farms, Mountaire Farms, Perdue Farms, and Tyson Foods — are presenting sponsors of the 2023 Delmarva Chicken Festival.

“The Delmarva Chicken Festival is coming back to the crossroads of Delmarva for the first time since 2014, and we’re thrilled to be celebrating 100 years of chicken history,” said Holly Porter, Delmarva Chicken Association’s executive director.

Delmarva Chicken Association, in the years when it was known as Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc., organized an annual festival from 1948 (first called the Chicken of Tomorrow Festival) until 2014, when the Delmarva Chicken Festival served its last wing and drumstick … until now. The 2023 festival will pay homage to the long-running festival’s traditions, but with a modern twist, focusing on local food, live music, and family-friendly attractions.

This year, DCA’s “Growing For 100 Years” campaign celebrates the 100th anniversary of Delmarva’s chicken industry, which began in 1923 with a broiler flock raised by Ocean View, Del.’s Cecile Steele, as well as the 75th anniversary of the founding of DCA.

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Schedule of Events

  • 1 p.m. Festival opens
  • 1:30-3 p.m. Jones Boys perform on the Pohanka of Salisbury Automotive Group Music Stage
  • 2 p.m. Miss Delmarva Chicken Festival Pageant on the Entertainment Stage
  • 3 p.m. Wing War on the Shore on the Entertainment Stage
  • 3:30 p.m. Jimmy Charles performs on the Pohanka of Salisbury Automotive Group Music Stage
  • 4 p.m. Chicken Capers contest at the Entertainment Stage
  • 5 p.m. Mountaire Farms Chickin’ Pickin’ Contest on the Entertainment Stage
  • 5:30 p.m. Mike Hines & The Look perform on the Pohanka of Salisbury Automotive Group Music Stage
  • 7 p.m. Fireworks show over Arthur W. Perdue Stadium

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