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Hot Chicken Festival 

When: Thu., July 4, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 2013
hotchickenfestival.com
Its coming was foretold in Revelation: a bird with wings of fire. And breasts. And drumsticks. And whenever the fiery fowl manifests itself again, Nashvillians will be there to smite it, toothpicks and Bunny Bread at the ready. See, there’s a reason the Phoenix didn’t originate in Nashville — when a bird emerges from fire in these parts, we tend to eat it. Hot chicken remains Nashville’s culinary ambassador to the world — and while that may be a little like sending Cannibal Corpse to represent your barbershop-quartet society, more visitors converge every year like butterflies on a bug zapper to test themselves against Music City’s specialty: fried chicken doused in a hot-pepper paste until it’s nearly black with heat. East Park’s annual July 4 celebration of the Atomic Cluck gathers its world-class practitioners (including Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, 400 Degrees, Bolton’s and Pepperfire) along with worthy ringers such as East Side Fish (“The Crunkest Fish in Town”), B&C BBQ (see this week’s cover story on p. 9), Otter’s Chicken Tenders, The Dog of Nashville, the Nashville Farmers’ Market and Biscuit Love. There’ll be live music, a fire-truck parade starting 11 a.m. at Eighth and Woodland, the action-packed battle royal of competing hot-chicken teams — and for that all-important cooling-off on what is traditionally a sweltering day, the Yazoo Brewery beer tent for grown-ups and Retro-Sno, Pied Piper Creamery and The Lemon Spot for kids. As for the spice burn, we prescribe yogurt or buttermilk.
— Jim Ridley

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