The Delmarva Chicken Festival, a tradition on the Delmarva Peninsula since 1948, will celebrate its 65th and final event Friday and Saturday, June 20 and 21, at the Queen Anne’s County 4-H Park along Route 18 near Centreville, Md. Thousands of visitors are expected to join in this last two-day celebration of Delmarva’s chicken industry.
The festival will open to the public at 10 a.m., Friday when poultry-related displays including hatching eggs and baby chicks, historical exhibits focusing on the festival's history and the history of the chicken industry on Delmarva and in Queen Anne's County will welcome visitors. An arts and crafts show, home and trade show, farmers market, model train displays, children's activities, and all food concessions get underway also. Official opening ceremonies featuring state, local, and poultry industry leaders are set for 11 a.m., Friday. Activities will continue until 8 p.m. Festival grounds will reopen at 10 a.m., Saturday and remain open until 8 p.m.
Throughout the festival there will be continuous entertainment for all ages. Friday’s lineup will include music by Elvis and Patsy Cline tribute artists, Three Penny Opera playing rock and blues, The Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition, and the variety band Best Kept Secret. The children won’t want to miss Snippy Doodles the clown, Scales and Tales, Touch-a Truck, and numerous other kid-focused activities.
Festivities will resume Saturday at 10 a.m. when all exhibits, the farmers market, and food concessions reopen. Children's activities will continue and will add Cascading Carlos with juggling demonstrations throughout the day and an appearance by the popular Delmarva Shorebirds mascot, Sherman, between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The festival’s main stage on Saturday will feature a return performance by The Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition at 11 a.m. and a country music show with The Jones Boys will follow at 1 p.m. The Sweet Adeline Chorus, Harmony on the Bay, will perform at 2 p.m., followed by The Ashley Mitchell Band at 3:30 p.m. Closing the entertainment lineup with a two-hour show beginning at 6 p.m. is the locally acclaimed group, Hot Tub Limo.
Other activities on Saturday will include a classic car show, motorcycle show, and a Mountaire Chickin' Pickin' competition scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. A unique Chickens for Charity auction will be held on the main stage at 5:30 p.m. and will feature the sale of fiberglass chickens that have been handcrafted by local businesses and organizations as a fundraising activity for area nonprofits.
Throughout the festival, Delmarva’s giant 10-foot fry pan will be in operation cooking several tons of mouthwatering fried chicken. Chicken provided by Perdue Farms Inc. will be seasoned with Delmarva's well-known English's seasoning blend and will be cooked in Plenish oil, a new, more healthful oil supplied by Perdue Agribusiness and DuPont Pioneer. The giant pan will be fired by propane gas provided by the Mid Atlantic Propane Gas Association and Callahan Gas. The extensive festival menu will also include chicken served in a variety of other tasty ways, french fries, funnel cakes, hand-dipped ice cream cones, homemade desserts, and cold Pepsi products.
According to festival co-chair Dr. Faith Elliott Rossing, “The 65th and last Delmarva Chicken Festival promises to be one to remember. Local volunteers have worked together for more than a year to organize an exciting grand finale for this longtime Delmarva tradition. The two-day festival will spotlight Delmarva’s dynamic poultry industry and historic Queen Anne’s County while providing affordable family entertainment at its best.”
Admission to the festival is free, and plenty of free parking will be available at lots on the festival grounds and along Route 18.
The Delmarva Chicken Festival is sponsored by Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc., the nonprofit association representing the poultry industry on the Delmarva Peninsula. The 2014 festival is hosted by Queen Anne’s County, Md. with support from the following major corporate partners: Perdue Farms Inc., Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, Chesapeake Publishing Corp., and PNC Bank. Added support was received from an additional 20 businesses and organizations.
For more information on the Delmarva Chicken Festival, visit www.dpichicken.com or www.visitqueenannes.com.