Siler City’s Spring Chicken Festival draws 5,000

Posted 5/10/19

SILER CITY — About 5,000 people poured into the streets of downtown Siler City Saturday for the inaugural Spring Chicken Festival, a turnout that guaranteed the event’s continuation.

Siler …

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Siler City’s Spring Chicken Festival draws 5,000

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SILER CITY — About 5,000 people poured into the streets of downtown Siler City Saturday for the inaugural Spring Chicken Festival, a turnout that guaranteed the event’s continuation.

Siler City’s Parks and Recreation Director Joseph Keel, who provided the estimate, noted that there were many people at the event that he had never seen before, with visitors coming from all over the county and the region. The event was organized by the town’s Parks and Recreation Department and sponsored by Mountaire Farms, the poultry processing company that opened a plant downtown this year.

“We never expected 5,000 people,” Keel said. “Now we know that we only see the event is going to grow. We see people planning their high school reunions, their family reunions around the Spring Chicken Festival.”

Keel also expressed gratitude for Siler City Mayor John Grimes and the Siler City Board of Commissioners for the vision and the support of the Parks and Recreation Department.

Vendors lined N. Chatham Avenue, packing their tents and tables side-by-side as scores of visitors meandered up and down the street, checking out the variety of wares available. Music filled the air as bands played both on the main stage on W. Raleigh Street and at the Rotary Stage near the Chatham Rabbit on N. Chatham Avenue. Children of all ages enjoyed the Ferris wheel and climbing wall, as well as other games and activities.

Siler City Parks and Recreation Administrative Support Specialist Daniel Spivey noted that he heard compliments all day.

“People said there was something for every person, for every age, and a huge diversity of people,” Spivey said.

Keel noted that he spent Monday morning listening to voice mail after voice mail left on the Parks and Recreation line with people complimenting the department and the town for the event.

“I was thrilled to see the community coming together,” Keel said. “This was a much needed event for Siler City.”

“Everyone is excited,” Keel said. “Our social media was blowing up all weekend. I kept hearing people who were there say to people on the phone, ‘Hey I’m at the Chicken Festival, you need to come out.”

Keel also was gratified that many who he called “veterans” of Siler City, such as Barry Hayes of WNCA radio, noted that Saturday’s Spring Chicken Festival was at least twice as large of the original Chicken Festival that used to take place more than two decades ago.

With the event’s success, Keel is keen to continue to build onto the Spring Chicken Festival and make it even better. On Monday morning, the entire staff of the Parks and Recreation department gathered in Keel’s office in town hall to debrief on the event and to begin planning for next year’s Spring Chicken Festival while it was fresh on their minds, Keel said.

“The Sand Band killed it,” Keel said of one of the bands that played during the event. “We’ve already booked them for next year.”

Keel notes that next year’s event may have some minor adjustments, but he believes next year’s festival should be similar to this year’s.

“We don’t want to fix what isn’t broken,” Keel said.

The Second Annual Spring Chicken Festival is scheduled for May 2, 2020 in downtown Siler City.

Casey Mann can be reached at


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