Second Annual Fried Chicken Festival Expands To Two Days, Prepares For 100,000+ Attendees
NEW ORLEANS – The second annual Fried Chicken Festival (FCF) presented by Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers is set to take place on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 24, from 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., at Woldenberg Park in the French Quarter.
The new location gives the festival more than 520,000 square feet of space, which is five times larger than Lafayette Square's 108,000 footprint.
The free outdoor festival brought nearly 40,000 chicken lovers out to Lafayette Square in 2016 and organizers are planning for more than 100,000 festival goers over the two-day fall weekend in 2017. FCF brings food, music, family and festivities together, all in celebration of the classic southern dish, event organizers said.
"The Fried Chicken Festival gives us a great opportunity to produce a free festival for families while providing a platform to showcase independently owned restaurants," said Cleveland Spears, III, FCF organizer and president/CEO of the Spears Group. "We have new things in store for this year's attendees including a much larger footprint, more vendors, more attractions and an enhanced guest experience. We are extremely grateful to our presenting sponsor Raising Cane's and all of our partners for sharing our vision for the second straight year."
The 2017 festival will now feature 35 vendors from across the U.S., three stages (two music stages and cooking demo stage), live entertainment, celebrity chefs, The Louisiana Federation for Children Kid's Pavilion and the return of the Moet Chicken and Champagne VIP Lounge.
"Raising Cane's is proud to serve again as the presenting sponsor for this year's Fried Chicken Festival," said Todd Graves, founder and CEO of Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers. "New Orleans knows how to celebrate and New Orleans knows good fried chicken, so we expect that this festival will be one of the largest food festivals in the country. We are excited to sign on as a multi-year partner as the festival's Presenting Sponsor."
Additionally, organizers have included several new attractions to the festival. The cooking demo stage will be anchored by Chef Jeff Henderson, an award-winning chef, bestselling author and popular public speaker. Henderson has served as executive chef at the renowned Café Bellagio and Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas and has become one of the most inspirational chefs in the country. He has appeared on numerous TV and radio programs and print publications, including "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "Good Morning America," "The Montel Williams Show," CNBC, NPR's "All Things Considered," People and USA Today.
Kids and families can enjoy the Louisiana Federation for Children Kid's Pavilion which will include face painting, spacewalks and educational programs like STEM NOLA.
The festival will again donate a portion of proceeds to local charities and will honor a New Orleans Culinary Icon. Legendary Chef Leah Chase took home the inaugural Culinary Icon award in 2016.
Festival attendees can expect the return of the Best Fried Chicken Contest and Best Use of Chicken in a Dish Contest, which will be judged by local and national food writers, bloggers and critics. Fiorella's Cafe and Jazz City Cafe took home the top prizes, respectively in 2016.