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April 21, 2024

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Hot Chicken Festival Heats Up with Amateur Contest

Four teams compete for winner’s trophy this Thursday, June 29 before the main event on Tuesday, July 4.

The Music City Hot Chicken Festival Deer Park Amateur Contest will take place on Thursday, June 29 from 10 – noon at the Nashville Farmers Market. Four teams will compete for the coveted Hot Chicken Festival Trophy.

The contest is the kick-off  of the 17th annual July 4 Music City Hot Chicken Festival, which take place 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, July 4 in East Park (700 Woodland Street, Nashville).

“Since we started the Hot Chicken Festival 17 years ago, Nashville Hot Chicken has become an international phenomenon,” said Festival founder and former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell. “Today there are ‘Nashville Hot Chicken’ restaurants in cities across the country and around the world. But we are the original – where it all began.”

Competing teams in this year’s Deer Park Amateur contest include:

  • Team Alonzo, led by Kali Alonzo. Kali’s team dons a chicken costume while they make their bird. They are a formidable competitor having won the competition in the past.
  • Rosie’s Hot Leg’s team, also a past winner and led by Rosie Sprague, gets the whole family engaged in the competition. He has been making hot chicken for more than a decade.
  • Team Nashville Nate’s led by Nate Miller enjoys food competitions and will surely bring the heat against other competitors.
  • Finally, the Sweet Sistahs, led by Anna Ward, is bringing secret family recipes to the contest from her aunt Evelyn, who once sold hot chicken at her juke joint.

Because the weather in July is even hotter than the chicken, organizers are pleased to announce that Deer Park Spring Water has joined the festival in 2023 providing free water throughout the day for all festival attendees.

Deer Park Amateur Hot Chicken Cooking contest will feature winning teams of amateur chicken chefs, chosen for their creativity and fiery flair, get the opportunity to impress a judging panel of hot chicken connoisseurs. The winner will be presented with a trophy on the Festival stage at 2 p.m. July 4.

Just before the July 4 event at 10:30 a.m. the day will kick off with the Hot Chicken Festival Parade. The popular signature kickoff roll is led by Bill Purcell, former Nashville mayor and Nashville’s unofficial hot chicken ambassador, followed by a host of vintage fire trucks (plus a few modern ones), marching bands, costumed mascots throwing parade beads and more.

But, can I eat hot chicken?

Of course, the main attraction of the Music City Hot Chicken Festival is the chance to eat your fill of hot chicken. This year’s hot chicken vendors range from old favorites to newcomers, including:

  • Eugene’s Hot Chicken
  • Hattie B’s Chicken
  • Hurt’s Hot Chicken
  • Mamma Joy’s Hot Chicken
  • Nashville Hot Chicken and Waffles
  • Party Fowl
  • Slow Burn
  • Chicken Shack Express
  • Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish
  • And, of course, the first and only Prince’s Hot Chicken!

Beyond free water from Deer Park, festival “cool vendors” can also help tame the burn. Yazoo Brewery once again is supplying plenty of cold beer, and icy treats are available from Pied Piper Creamery, King of Pops, Retro Sno and the Lemon Spot. Buns on the Run, Loveless Cafe, Kernels Nashville Popcorn and the Peach Truck round out the non-spicy food offerings.

The free event benefits the Friends of Shelby Parks and Bottoms, and it has the added benefit of supporting Hot Chicken establishments that have been an important part of building entrepreneurship in our city, as well as our uniquely Nashville pride, unity and heritage.

For more Information, visit hotchickenfestival.com or facebook.com/musiccityhotchickenfestival.

 

 

About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.