LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Every year during the last full weekend of September, the Sentinel-Echo question of the week has been “What is your favorite part of the Chicken Festival?”
The answers have varied over the years, now narrowed down to three categories for the online poll that marks the progress of technology from the personal pictures and answers that once graced each Wednesday edition of the newspaper.
The categories are usually entertainment, carnival rides, and food.
Aside from the ferris wheel which allows me to rise high above the crowd for an overview picture, I’m a bit too ‘mature’ for the major carnival rides, although it is always intriguing to try and get pictures of the kids and adults on the many offerings that transform Broad Street each late September.
Food is always a beloved facet of the annual celebration, with aromas of blooming onions, hamburgers, pizza, and funnel cakes blending delightfully together throughout downtown London.
The entertainment includes contests, a parade, and countless musical performances, from dance teams to gospel groups. One of my favorite contests is the Barnyard Games, formerly called the Redneck Games and Kentucky Olympics.
These contests will simply make you ‘crow’ with pleasure. In past years, I’ve watched contestants attempt to carve a chicken from a block of Spam, throw frozen chickens at water-filled 2 liter pop bottles in a simulated bowling contest, and create a structure from a piece of aluminum foil in a timed contest.
This year’s scheduled events included Watermelon/Pumpkin seed spitting, Spam eating contest; Toilet Lid Horseshoe, armpit serenade song recognition, burping contest, and timed corn shucking contest.
The parade always brings out thousands of people and participants — by far the largest and longest parade of the community. From beauty queens and marching bands to fire trucks and floats, the WCF parade brings out the community to ‘oh’ and ‘ah’ the festivities.