The Delmarva Chicken Festival, a beloved public event returning in 2023 to celebrate 100 years of growing chicken on Delmarva will return after a 9 year hiatus Saturday. The free festival, hosted by Delmarva Chicken Association, will take place October 7, 2023 from 1-7 p.m. at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Maryland.
Attractions at the 2023 Delmarva Chicken Festival will include food vendors, an open-air marketplace, kids’ activities (including touch-a-truck exhibits, a petting zoo, and bounce houses), a “Walk Through History” tent with historical displays, a virtual reality tour of a chicken farm, baby chicks for visitors to hold, two stages with programming, and more. Live music will be performed throughout the day by The Jones Boys, Jimmy Charles, and Mike Hines & The Look. The ‘Chicken Capers’ contests, which pit teams of employees from Delmarva’s five chicken companies against each other in field day-style games, are returning for the 2023 event. A fireworks show will round out the event at 7 p.m.
“The Delmarva Chicken Festival offers food trucks, small businesses and nonprofit organizations an opportunity to serve thousands of customers while being part of chicken’s history,” said Holly Porter, Delmarva Chicken Association’s executive director. “We’re encouraging sponsors, exhibitors, and vendors to reach out and sign up now for this milestone event, and we’re excited to make it even more accessible to them.”
Delmarva’s five chicken companies – Allen Harim Foods, Amick Farms, Mountaire Farms, Perdue Farms, and Tyson Foods – are presenting sponsors of the 2023 Delmarva Chicken Festival. Marydel Ag Supply is the event’s fireworks sponsor, and Pohanka of Salisbury Automotive Group is the music stage sponsor. Sponsorship opportunities are still open.
Delmarva Chicken Association, in the years when it was known as Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc., organized an annual festival from 1948 (when it was known as the Chicken of Tomorrow Festival) until 2014, when the festival ended. Historically, the Delmarva Chicken Festival featured parades, chicken cooking contests, and fried chicken prepared in the world’s largest fry pan, 10 feet in diameter. The 2023 festival will pay homage to those traditions, but with a modern twist, focusing on local food, live music, and family-friendly attractions. This year, DCA’s “Growing For 100 Years” campaign celebrates the 100th anniversary of Delmarva’s chicken industry, which began in 1923 with a broiler flock raised by Ocean View, Del.’s Cecile Steele, as well as the 75th anniversary of the founding of DCA.
Two Chicken Festivals have been held on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Onancock was the host for one of the festivals in the mid fifties and another in the late 60s.