CH@T: After pandemic cancellations, Siler City’s Spring Chicken Festival finally returns

Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Making high quality community journalism isn’t free — please consider supporting our journalism by subscribing to the News + Record today.

Unlimited Digital Access begins at $4.67/month

Print + Digital begins at $6.58/month

Posted

The Chicken Festival’s return in 2019 to Siler City was a major success, drawing thousands downtown for a day of fun to highlight community and the town’s poultry business heritage.

The 2020 event was a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, as was last year’s event. But the 2022 festival is here, set for Saturday in Siler City, and Jack Clelland, Siler City’s Parks and Recreation Director, speaks with the News + Record about it.

The festival will kick off at 10 a.m. and end at 6 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, go to www.silercity.org and search under “Special Events.”

Let’s start with you all as organizers: After the huge success of the 2019 Spring Chicken Festival, then having the 2020 and 2021 versions canceled because of COVID, what’s it been like to see the work you’ve done on the ’22 version coming to fruition? How pleased are you that this one will actually go off as planned?

Staff is ecstatic to see the 2022 festival come to fruition. The planning of this event is a labor of love and encompasses nearly a year of organization. To put so much time and effort into planning the 2020 and 2021 events only to be canceled due to COVID was disappointing to staff, but the safety of residents, staff, and volunteers is a high priority for the town.

We enjoy planning events that bring people to Siler City to see what great things the town has to offer. We look forward to Saturday, when the Chicken Festival kicks off at 10 a.m. downtown Siler City.

As a review, can you talk a little about the history of prior festivals here in Siler City and what led to the rebirth of this event in 2019?

The festival ran for several years to highlight Siler City and the chicken production taking place in the town. It slowly fizzled and went away. Staff, along with Mountaire Farms, and the Siler City Board of Commissioners, wanted to create a marquee event that again highlighted Siler City and the production that has returned here, and the Chicken Festival was reborn.

Also as a bit of a review … what were the highlights of the “new” event in 2019? What do you think made it such a success?

The 2019 festival was a great success in bringing festival-goers to Siler City [and was] made possible by the partnership between the town and Mountaire Farms. Mountaire and the town worked together to have some great elements at the 2019 festival — Ferris Wheel, rock wall, and inflatables for attendees to enjoy, along with live music from the Sand Band and Nu-Blu, a mixture of food and craft vendors. These elements drew people from all around to Siler City and were the highlights of the event.

For 2022’s event, next Saturday: Can you run through the highlights of what’s planned and talk about what festival-goers should expect?

The 2022 Festival will feature again the Ferris Wheel, over 100 vendors, and live music from the Embers featuring Craig Woolard and Rivermist. New this year will be the addition of Jitterbug swings, camel slide, and an inflatable joust. The Embers featuring Craig Woolard will take the stage at 11 a.m., followed by Mountaire Farms and the Chickin Pickin’ contest at 1:30 p.m. with Rivermist closing out the festival taking the stage at 3 p.m. Vendors will line the streets of North and South Chatham Avenue and will be selling homemade crafts, tasty food and more.

For those weighing the question of whether to attend … perhaps some who are concerned about COVID or wondering if it’ll be worth their time — what’s your message to them?

There are some exciting things to see and do at this year’s festival, and we hope all that want to attend will. While we understand some may be hesitant to attend, we suggest coming at the very beginning of the event or very late when crowds tend to be lighter. The event is rain or shine, and we look forward to having this festival back in Siler City and highlighting our great city, the downtown merchants, and Mountaire Farms.

What else should folks be aware of?

Starting at 8 a.m. on Friday, East Second Street will be closed to allow setup of Ferris Wheel and other attractions. The intersection of South Chatham and Beaver Street will be closed for stage setup.

There will be no parking on North or South Chatham Avenue after 10 p.m. Friday, and starting at 5 a.m. Saturday, the following roads will be closed (to reopen as soon as possible following the end of the Chicken Festival): N. and S. Chatham Avenue; East and West Second Streets; South Chatham to Chestnut; East and West Raleigh Streets; and East and West Beaver Streets.

Handicapped parking will be available in the bottom lot of Town Hall until full.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here