Wild Chicken Festival celebrates a tradition

FITZGERALD, GA (WALB) - As the city of Fitzgerald takes on another year of the Wild Chicken Festival, they say every year the community is what makes it all come together.  The founders of the festival are proud of its strong history in the community.

The cackles of chickens are sounds the locals hear often, here.

"There's a few chickens," said Nathan Walker, Fitzgerald Resident.

And they celebrate them every year.

"It showcases our community, certainly our historic downtown area, all of our community groups," said Barry Peavey Wild Chicken Festival Director.

The wild chicken festival is a tradition in downtown Fitzgerald. It started 30 years ago as the rattlesnake roundup right here on Main Street and Pine Ave. Over time, the festival changed its theme to something more fitting.

"It wasn't hard to look around and see what we should focus on and that was the hundreds of wild chickens running around in the streets," said Peavey.

Though the number of chickens is a bit smaller, and you may not see them...

"They are downtown but they get a little shy when 12,000 people show up…"

The festival keeps growing.

"Started very small, probably had 20 or 30 vendors, a little entertainment. And over the last 17 years we've become an overnight success. Nearly 100 vendors, all day entertainment, and 10 to 12,000 visitors that come to Fitzgerald," said Peavey.

"I think it's good. We only do it once a year. You get to see a lot of people you don't see regularly," Walker said.

Organizers say they see people from all over. And that wouldn't be possible, without the community.

"You see everybody enjoying what you and several other community folks have pulled together and it's just a lot of fun seeing everybody have a good time," said Peavey.

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