Snow Hill, Md. is ready to welcome thousands of visitors from across the Delmarva Peninsula who will be heading their way this weekend, June 21 and 22, for the 64th Delmarva Chicken Festival. This annual celebration will be held at Byrd Park, located along Market Street and the scenic Pocomoke River in Snow Hill.
The festival is sponsored by Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc., the nonprofit trade association working on behalf of the region’s chicken industry, and hosted this year by the Town of Snow Hill and the Snow Hill Chamber of Commerce. Major financial support has been received from corporate partnerships with Tyson Foods, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, Peninsula Regional Medical Center and Atlantic General Hospital.
The family-focused event runs 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday. Admission, parking and most of the entertainment are free. Shuttle service from marked parking locations will carry visitors to and from Byrd Park at no charge.
The event will include a Home & Trade Show, an Arts & Crafts Show and the always popular Baby Chick Display. Delmarva Farm Families - Stewards of Our Natural Resources, an educational display coordinated by DPI and representatives from local universities, will give consumers a closer look at how chicken is produced and will also provide historical commentary on the development of the chicken industry in Worcester County.
The NASA Wallops Flight Facility will be on site with a large display and giveaways, and Pocomoke River Cruises will offer 50-minute cruises up the river where passengers will view local wildlife and enjoy the beauty of cypress forests. Throughout the festival, the Maryland State Police Dive Team and K-9 Unit will be conducting demonstrations. The Trooper 4 rescue helicopter will land near the festival grounds at noon on Saturday and will remain on site for tours until 2 p.m.
For children, the University of Maryland Extension and the Maryland Soybean Board have designed a contest called The Chicken Hunt that takes children on a tour of the festival grounds. It will run at designated times.
It wouldn't be a festival without a carnival - a large span of rides and games for thrill-seekers of all ages. Tickets are required for this area.
Other major events on Saturday, June 22, include the Delmarva Chicken Run - a 5K run starting at Sturgis Park in downtown Snow Hill. The run starts at 8 a.m. Walk-up registration is available at 7:30 a.m.
A Custom Car and Truck Show, sponsored by Royal Plus Inc. and presented by S.H. Car Events, will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. along Green Street in downtown Snow Hill. Commemorative dash plaques will be given to the first 100 registrants.
Kids of all ages can participate in DPI’s Chicken Capers - an afternoon of old-fashioned fun featuring Sherman the Shorebird.
The Mountaire Chickin' Pickin' Championship competition will be staged near the festival's food court from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
An amateur radio special event hosted by the Peninsula Radio Operators Society will allow ham radio operators from around the world to call into the chicken festival’s special call sign, K3C.
The Snow Hill Lions Club will fire up Delmarva's giant 10-foot fry pan to cook more than three tons of chicken, provided by Tyson Foods, during the two-day event. The Snow Hill Volunteer Fire Company will be on hand with freshly grilled barbecued chicken platters. Other food vendors will serve chicken in sandwiches, wraps, salads and more.
Throughout the two-day festival there will be exciting live entertainment on the festival’s main entertainment stage. All performances are free.
Friday's lineup features the contemporary sounds of alexandshiloh from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Volunteers, a section of the U.S. Army Field Band, will take the stage between 2 and 4 p.m. and will be followed by the USO-style band, WW2unes, playing hits from the past from 4 to 6 p.m. Evening entertainment will conclude with a two-hour concert by the acclaimed Honeycombs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The Saturday musical lineup will kick off at 11:30 a.m. with Tom Larsen and the Lookin' for Trouble Band. At 4 p.m., 33 1/3 will perform music of the '60s and '70s. The Funsters will close out the festival with a performance beginning at 6:30 p.m..
Official opening ceremonies are set for 11 a.m., Friday. The program will feature chicken industry, state and local officials, and the presentation of colors by Worcester County Sheriff's Department Color Guard. All are welcome.
From 6:30 to 10 p.m., Thursday, June 20, Stine Amusements will hold a carnival preview. The entire community is invited to enjoy the rides and games at discounted ticket prices.
For more information, call DPI before Friday, June 21, at 302-856-9037 in Sussex County, the Snow Hill Chicken Festival Committee at 410-896-1109; or visit www.dpichicken.org or www.DelmarvaChickenFestival.org.