The inaugural Fried Chicken Festival presented by Raising Cane’s (FCF) brought more than 40,000 attendees to Lafayette Square on Sunday, September 25, 2016, doubling the expected 20,000 crowd. Organizers have announced that the 2017 festival will take place at a larger venue and will expand to two days.
“We are so humbled and honored by the overwhelming success of the first Fried Chicken Festival, because not only were we able to bring 40,000 people together, we gave $10,000 to local organizations, honored a New Orleans icon, and allowed local restaurants to showcase their best dishes on such a large scale,” said Cleveland Spears, III, FCF organizer and President/CEO of the Spears Group. “Having the largest attendance for a first year festival is a huge accomplishment and we can assure everyone that this festival will continue to get bigger and better every year.”
More than 26 local favorites were showcased at the FCF. Featured restaurants included Willie Mae’s, Lil’ Dizzy’s Cafe, Fiorella’s Cafe, Bayou Hot Wings, Diva Dawg, McHardy’s Fried Chicken, Milkfish, The Company Burger, Crepes a la Cart and more. Sweet Crude, John Boutte, Tank and the Bangas, the Brass- A-Holics and DJ Mannie Fresh graced the stage and brought the massive crowd to their feet.
In addition, the festival included events such as the Raising Cane’s Chicken Tender Eating Contest and the Best Fried Chicken and Best Use of Chicken in a Dish contests. John Kennedy, Fiorella’s Cafe and Jazz City Cafe took home the top contest prizes respectively.
Legendary Chef Leah Chase was presented with the 2016 Culinary Icon Award by Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Raising Cane’s President and CEO Todd Graves for her contributions to culinary arts in New Orleans and throughout the U.S. Also, Liberty’s Kitchen and Cafe Reconcile were each awarded $5,000 to contin- ue to provide culinary opportunities to youth in New Orleans. The Saintsations and New Orleans Saints Mascot Gumbo also made a special appearance at the festival.
The first-ever free Fried Chicken Fest was beyond successful. Lafayette Square was packed from edge to edge with happy folks clutching plates of fragrant fried fowl. Spirits were high.
Louisiana’s top fried chicken chefs were on hand for the inaugural Fried Chicken Festival held in New Orleans on Sunday (Sept. 25). The one-day, fry-off competition and music festival took place at Lafayette Square.
Huge crowds filled the iconic square for the free event. Organizers anticipated 20,000 hungry festival-goers. After all, who wouldn’t want to sample some of the world’s best fried chicken in one of America’s premier food cities?
The inaugural Fried Chicken Festival presented by Raising Cane's (FCF) brought more than 40,000 attendees to Lafayette Square on Sunday, September 25, 2016, doubling the expected 20,000 crowd attendance for the nine-hour festival. Organizers announced the 2017 festival will take place at a larger venue and will expand to two days.
Thousands of eager festival attendees stood in lengthy lines waiting for their chance to enjoy New Orleans’ first annual Fried Chicken Festival. At least 40,000 fried chicken lovers poured into the Big Easy to get a taste of the 28 vendors’ best dishes.
When New Orleans’ inaugural Fried Chicken Festival was announced earlier this summer, organizers promised the event would feature a variety of takes on the classic Southern dish, along with some free live music.