The inaugural Fried Chicken Festival joined together family, music, and most importantly fried chicken. The free outdoor festival took place on September 25, 2016, in Lafayette Square from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. While the Spears Group only expected a crowd of around 20,000, more than 40,000 people attended the event, which was later voted Best Food Festival in 2016 on NOLA.com.
Crepes a la Cart, The Company Burger, Bayou Hot Wings, McHardy’s Fried Chicken, Willie Mae’s, Lil’ Dizzy’s Cafe, Milkfish were amongst the 26 vendors present to sell their dishes and compete in the Best Fried Chicken Contest and Best Use of Chicken in a dish, in which the restaurants put their own signature twist on the famous southern dish.
Owner and chef of local Dooky Chase restaurant, Leah Chase, was presented the 2016 Culinary Icon Award by Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Raising Cane’s CEO Todd Graves. She was honored for her countless contributions to the world of culinary arts in not only New Orleans, but across the country.
Live musical performances took place throughout the day by local musicians such as Sweet Crude, Tank and the Bangas, John Boutte, the Brass-A-Holics, and DJ Mannie Fresh. The festival also featured a 10-foot ONE LOVE wall, where all attendees were asked to write encouraging messages and tell us about their festival experience and their love for fried chicken.
In light of the immense success of last year’s festival, major changes are in store for 2017. The location has been changed to a larger venue to accommodate a large attendance. Also, the festival has been extended to two days, which means, even more, opportunity for more fried chicken!