This Cluck’s For You

A new festival announced for fall

With a festival nearly every weekend of the year, some might think adding another to the calendar is too much. But when you realize we don’t yet have a festival dedicated to one of the greatest foods on Earth – fried chicken – it’s immediately apparent that this is something to be celebrated.

The inaugural Fried Chicken Festival (FCF) is planned for Sunday, September 25, 2016. The free, outdoor festival will be located at Lafayette Square in the Central Business District, an easy walk from the French Quarter or Warehouse District.

“Bringing new experiences to the people of this great city is something that I am passionate about,” said Cleveland Spears III, FCF organizer and president/CEO of the Spears Group. “This event will bring a unique twist to a very popular Southern dish, and it will become a new experience that is uniquely New Orleans.”

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The Spears Group already curates cutting edge events through the year, including the “pop-up picnic” Diner en Blanc, which occurred this past weekend, and an awards program that recognizes young professionals called The Millennials. Adding the new FCF to their portfolio will surely be a challenge, but well within their wheelhouse.

The new festival promises to celebrate the classic southern iteration of the dish, but will also feature alternative interpretations of fried chicken. The festival promises to host both local and national chefs who will bring their own variations of this particular manna. Fried Chicken will be judged in a contest by national chefs, food writers and critics.

Additionally, there promises to be a Fried Chicken Wing Eating Contest. What every food festival needs, really, is a competitive eating contest. No word yet on whether it will be recognized as an official event by Major League Eating, but we can only hope. Buy me a sazarac and I’ll regale you with stories of hanging out at Coney Island with the competitive eaters after they finished the Nathan’s hot dog contest…

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It being a New Orleans event, of course there will be live music and entertainment. There will also be more than 20 restaurants participating. Bookies should start to take bets now on Willie Mae’s, McHardy’s and Ms. Chase. Fingers crossed they will all be part of the festival.

“The city of New Orleans hosts more than 130 permitted festivals each year, and we are so excited to know that a Fried Chicken Festival will now join those ranks" said Mark Romig, president and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. “I applaud Cleveland Spears and his team for bringing yet another culinary experience to our great city. Locals and tourists alike will get an opportunity to enjoy New Orleans' rich tradition of celebration.”

And in New Orleans we rarely celebrate without libations. NOLA Brewery is a sponsor for FCF and will bring their excellent beers to the festival.

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“NOLA Brewery is proud to support such an amazing event,” said Kirk Coco, CEO for NOLA Brewery. “Being a part of new traditions and experiences is our company’s philosophy. The Fried Chicken Festival is an event that will become an immediate New Orleans tradition.”

Mark your calendars and watch your waistlines so you can indulge this September. More info can be found at



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