London, Kentucky is situated in the foothills of the Appalachians alongside I-75 in the eastern portion of the state. It’s flat-gorgeous. The city fathers have invested boat-loads of money in the downtown, putting up hundreds of flower boxes and creating wide, bricked thoroughfares for pedestrians. It’s home to both Weavers, and Dairy Dart, two of the finest chili bun parlors in the state.
It’s also home to the World Chicken Festival, established in 1989 to lure tourism to a region of the state that has a seriously depressed economy. You don’t have to travel far from downtown London’s bucolic street scenes to find the Kentucky you so often see in national media: broke down mobile homes, yard art of busted commodes, and pit bulls tethered to long-decommissioned automobiles.
The World Chicken Festival draws tens of thousands of tourists and locals to the food party which features the world’s largest frying pan. It’s a doozy standing at 10 feet 6 inches in diameter. The stainless steel beast is 8 inches deep, has an 8 foot handle and weighs 700 pounds total. 300 gallons of cooking oil fuel this monster.
By the end of the weekend volunteers will have cooked 7,000 pieces of chicken seasoned with 75 pounds of salt. Laurel County is “moist” meaning you can purchase alcohol in a restaurant but not at a grocery store or quick mart. I was unable to ascertain as to whether the World Chicken Festival will be serving beer to wash down all that fried chicken.
Update. Beer will not be served at the event.
The event is held September 26-29th 2013.
There will be a double cornhole tournament for those interested. I have no idea what that is but it does sound promising.