National Fried Chicken Fest attracts over 100,000 locals and tourists


Customers pose with Southern’s fried chicken “Otis” sandwich. The chicken wooed festival goers with its sliding scale of spice options,. Photo credit: Gabriella Killett

Gabriella Killett



All weekend long performers and visitors joined together in a salute to good chicken and good times at Woldenberg Park.

The National Fried Chicken Festival, presented by Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, came to the festival hub of the South at Woldenberg Riverfront Park this past weekend. New Orleans was alive, as it always is, enjoying fried chicken alongside available merchandise and sponsor tents.

New Orleanians and tourists alike celebrated the popular Southern dish throughout the weekend with over 30 food vendors, a concert stage with live music and multiple featured daiquiri tents.

The fest featured a main stage, a DJ stage and the NOLA Culture Pavilion throughout the weekend to keep the spirit of New Orleans alive through music and cultural interactions. Despite the drinks, performances and dancing, the crowd knew not to miss out on the main event: fried chicken.

Asking around the fest, there was a general consensus as to which vendors brought their ‘A’ game to the table with their chicken. The following were token picks for this year’s National Fried Chicken Fest.

Southern featured a $9 fried chicken sandwich, offering different levels of spice to their customers. The favorite, coined “Otis”, was a perfect mix between a flavorful mild and pepper hot. The fried chicken sandwich came with the classic coleslaw and pickles, and the “Otis” sandwich, specifically, featured the tangy Yuzu Aioli sauce.

Pollo, another featured vendor at the festival, sold a $10 order of loaded fries. The concoction included jalapeños, sour cream, nacho cheese and fried chicken with a sauce of the customer’s choice. Festivalgoer Danielle chose the Sweet Thai chili glaze, and deemed the fries “extra, but in a good way.”

Blue Oak BBQ gave Southern a run for their money with a spicy fried chicken sandwich going for $10. The sandwich was dipped in a honey glaze and paired with a spicy teriyaki sauce to “give it a little kick,” according to Blue Oak BBQ employee Nick. The sandwich was coined as “tasting like General Tso’s chicken,” by festivalgoer Garret and was paired with a white barbecue sauce and pickles.

For standard fried chicken, McHardy’s Chicken and Fixin’ is the way to go, according to festivalgoers. McHardy’s featured a $9 two piece plate of fried chicken with the customer’s choice of potato salad or coleslaw. The potato salad was adored by all who ordered it, consisting of mayo, mustard, onion powder and a key secret ingredient.

Customers pose with Southern’s fried chicken “Otis” sandwich. The chicken wooed festival goers with its sliding scale of spice options,. Photo credit: Gabriella Killett

“You will never get it. I promise you,” McHardey’s affiliate Eugene said about the ingredient.

Also on the standard fried chicken side of things was Gus’s Fried Chicken. According to customers, they are known for a thinner outside coating. Rumored to have a wet batter, their chicken is perfect for those who prefer more meat as opposed to crust. Gus’s prices are fair, according to customers, with their menu including a $2 leg and a $2 wing.

Overall, the featured vendors, among the musical performers, sponsors, alcohol tents and available merchandise were all a part of a relaxed, inviting environment. People from out of town and locals from down the street joined to kick back, get loose and eat some good chicken.