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Fair Oaks is a community 16 miles northeast of Sacramento in Sacramento County. Its population is around 40,000.

Fair Oaks Chicken Festival

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Fair Oaks California Chicken Festival Photos and Story

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Fair Oaks, California near Sacramento

Why DID the Chickens Cross the Road?
by Barbara Steinberg

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.

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.

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.

 

Another California destination that loves roosters and chickens is Arroyo Grande Village