The Final Delmarva Chicken Festival is Underway

The 65th and final Delmarva Chicken Festival, sponsored by Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. (DPI) and hosted this year by Queen Anne's County, Maryland, opened this morning at the Queen Anne's County 4-H park just outside of Centreville, Maryland. This event pays tribute to the hugely important Delmarva chicken industry. Before the closing on Saturday night, June 21, some 25,000 guests are expected to visit, enjoy many ways to eat chicken, learn more about the chicken industry, listen to musical groups, and say goodbye to a Delmarva tradition since 1948.

During opening ceremonies, DPI President Keith Moore welcomed visitors and talked about this history of the festival and why this was the last DPI-sponsored event. He said the festival has been a well-received chicken industry promotion in eight decades, "but as times and industry challenges have changed, so must our ways of supporting our industry. After a great deal of thought, the DPI Board of Directors decided last year that the time had come to focus on other ways to serve our members and the decision was made to end sponsorship of the Delmarva Chicken Festival following this 65th event."

Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Buddy Hance told the overflow crowd that there's a bright future for the poultry industry in the region and he said all grain farmers in the MidAtlantic area depend upon the chicken industry. He praised farmers for their environmental stewardship, not just now but for past generations.

Before the official ribbon cutting featuring dozens of community, business, chicken industry, and political leaders, DPI recognized some persons in attendance who attended the first Delmarva Chicken Festival in Georgetown, Delaware in 1948 and some of the poultry princesses from over the years.

During the noon hour, huge crowds stood in line to buy and then enjoy the delicious fried chicken being cooked by members of the Queen Anne's County Farm Bureau. Other chicken food vendors and suppliers of beverages and desserts also did a booming lunch business.

Throughout the two days of the festival, there will be free musical entertainment, children's activities, an antique automobile show, and much more. Details are available at www.dpichicken.org.

The Delmarva Chicken Festival concludes Saturday night, June 16.

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