Fair Oaks, California near
Why DID the Chickens
Cross the Road?
There seemed to be something for everyone, with no complaints from the
chickens. A flock of kid activities were organized in Village Park. Face
painting, gold panning, games, bug-petting zoo, and potting plants kept the
young chicks smiling. Many, along with their parents, could be seen kicking
up dirt at the Festival Stage serenaded by local bands including ‘fave’
Mumbo Gumbo and their raucous “Everybody Loves Barbeque.” Cooking
demonstrations and wine pairings were held at Veteran’s Memorial
Amphitheater while a beer garden of microbrews could be found on the other
side of town.
Evidently to get out of the way of the Fair Oaks Chicken Festival. Yes, Fair
Oaks Village! Where chickens and roosters, like queens and kings, are
treated as honored dignitaries! These feathery fowl were reason to rejoice
at this first-time event which paid homage to our chicken brethren. Colonel
Sanders would be proud.
For decades this feral poultry has wandered the main streets and back roads
of historic and tranquil downtown Fair Oaks. Annoying to some residents –
beware of poultry poop – but beloved by most. I remember my own first
encounter at the Slocum House, dining in elegance as a rooster and his harem
clucked and strutted their way across the patio. A string of chicks in tow.
On a poultry-perfect September day locals came out to dance, dine, and drink
in the center of town. The poultry clucked as the vendors hocked everything
chicken from hand-crafted quilts and stained glass to chicken paintings and
tiles. And no one went hungry: The chickens scratched while the human force
chowed-down on hot ‘dawgs’, ice cream, BBQ beef brisket, and, yes,
irreverently, chicken. For anyone willing to get-up with the chickens, the
festival breakfast was something to crow about: Scrambled eggs (ouch!),
biscuits and gravy, ham, pancakes, and coffee, OJ or milk…all for the paltry
price of $5. Needless to say, it was well-worth the wait.
The festival also included a barbeque competition hosted by the local Oak
Hardware and the Big Green Egg which claims to be the “world’s best smoker &
grill.” The ceramic Big Green Egg is a versatile and effective outdoor
cooker designed for smoking, grilling, roasting, baking and barbequing all
kinds of foods. Ten competitors were given instructions on how to fire-up
and control this mother of all eggs. There were special sauces and dry rub;
chicken, fish, and kabobs; and special techniques which included cans of
beer and cast-iron skillets. “Judging is based on appearance, taste, and
tenderness,” said Darry Smith, one of the judges and a seasoned professional
in the world of BBQ competitions. Truthfully for hours I was thinking Dr.
Seuss. Then, brushing the feathers from my eyes, “Oh, I get it…big egg!”
I had to dash off before the final judging. Based on the determined looks,
perspiration, and smoke in the air each chef was resolute to be rulin’ the
BBQ-roost by day’s end. With any luck, this event may someday answer the
unanswerable of which came first…the chicken or the (Big Green) egg?
The wonderfulness of this event is its old-time appeal. The Fair Oaks
Village, thankfully, maintains its small town charm while surrounded by
fast-moving freeways and the ever-changing modern world. For more
information the festival visit www.FairOaksChickenFestival.com or other
happenings in the Village fairoakschamber.com.
About Fair Oaks, a
Community in Sacramento County, California
Fair Oaks is an unincorporated
community in Sacramento County with a population of around 40,000. It consists of a mix of suburban and semi-rural
neighborhoods situated amongst rolling hills dotted with native oaks.
American River Bluffs and
surrounding attractions, Nimbus Hatchery and Folsom Dam, offer a distinctive
environment focused on natural assets.
Fair Oaks Village sits along narrow
winding roads, rolling hills, an open-air amphitheatre, and a historic plaza
with historic buildings that contain galleries and shops. The Plaza Park
Amphitheatre, located in the Village, is the site of the Fair Oaks Theatre
Festival, an outdoor community theater. Other Fair Oaks events include
annual Fiesta Days, an event celebrating the residents of Fair Oaks and fun
events such as Fair Oaks Chicken Festival.
Fair Oaks Community
Planning Council, a seven-member body appointed by district by the County
Board of Supervisors, is a governing body overseeing land use. One of four pilot councils, the group meets monthly to
vote on issues ranging from lot-splits to cell phone towers.
History of chickens in
Fair Oaks: While orange and citrus groves from the early 1900s have been
replaced by homes, chickens continue to roam freely throughout town as they
have for over 100 years. Featured in People Magazine and the subject of
television, radio and newspapers stories, chickens that roam in Fair Oaks
village delight visitors who flock from around the globe to feed and take
pictures of them. The Fair Oaks Chicken Festival is a celebration of the
rural history and present village atmosphere in Fair Oaks, California,
colonized around 1895.
destination that loves roosters and chickens is
Arroyo Grande Village