Thursday, July 3, 2014

With Fire in the Belly, the Hot Chicken Festival Returns

Posted By on Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 9:49 AM

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Fireworks will be high in the skies over Nashville tomorrow at Riverfront Park. If you attend the city’s annual Fourth of July salute to our indigenous culinary specialty — fried chicken doused with a peppery paste — there will also be fireworks deep in your colon. Hot chicken, after all, is as much a remedy as a delicacy: if there’s any microbe unwise enough to be vacationing in your digestive tract, this is like sending down Old Hickory with a force of 10,000 to deliver the eviction notice.

The Music City Hot Chicken Festival is always a popular party — folks start lining up several hours early for a shot at free samples and purchased bites from Music City’s fieriest fowl manufacturers. (And if the forecast is to be believed, the weather is giving us a break this year, with clear skies and tolerable temps in the low to mid-80s.)

Prince’s Hot Chicken, 400 Degrees, Hattie B’s, Bolton’s, Pepperfire, Chicken Shack Express and Hot Stuff will all be offering their wares. There will also be a beer tent from Yazoo and vendors ranging from Porter Road Butcher, Pied Piper Creamery and Retro Sno to The Peach Truck, B&C, Biscuit Love and Smokin’ Thighs — plus Community Food Advocates with palate-clearing, tongue-cooling watermelon. (If only melon didn’t taste to us like soggy crepe paper.)

Factor in live music from the Shelby Bottom String Band, the Centennial Hiptet, Stephen Salyers and Kevin Ball and the Busters — and of course the drama of the hotly contested amateur hot-chicken cook-off — and learn why, where Nashville food is concerned, the bird is the word.

Admission to the event is free; it runs 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, July 4, at East Park.

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