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What came first?

By Staff
Poultry festival set in Lawrence County
Jonathan Willis
MOULTON – With poultry playing such a large role in Alabama's economy, there is no wonder one group decided to celebrate it.
Plans are underway for the 5th annual Alabama Chicken and Egg Festival to be held on Saturday and Sunday, April 18-19, 2009 at the Lions Club Fairgrounds in Moulton.
Glen Zorn, assistant state agriculture commissioner, said that agriculture is the number one industry in the state of Alabama.
"Poultry is 65 percent of that total," Zorn told a crowd gathered in Moulton Friday as plans for this year's festival was announced.
According to Commissioner Ron Sparks of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, agriculture is the number one industry in Alabama. It employs over 476,000 people, which is roughly 21 percent of the states work force. Alabama is the number three poultry producer in the nation producing over 1 billion birds a year.
The Alabama Chicken and Egg Festival highlights include a chicken clucking contest, where the audience selects the winner; egg toss competition, a favorite among children; and eating contests where contestants stuff their faces with chicken wings and hard boiled eggs.
New for 2009 will be an Egg Roulette competition and the "Down on the Farm" area featuring a Bluegrass music stage, agriculture exhibits, state of the art farming equipment, antique tractors, chickens, cows and southern folk life art exhibits such as quilters, saddle makers, ferrer, potters, blacksmith and basket and broom makers.
The two-day outdoor festival offers food vendors featuring poultry cuisine and live entertainment by popular regional bands and local favorites. Attendees also have the opportunity to see over 100 chickens representing 25 different varieties with the live bantam chicken display. Introduced during the 2007 festival, the "Proud to Be a Poultry Farmer" promotion was established to recognize the importance of poultry farming as an industry and allows poultry farmers attending the festival VIP seating in selected areas.
Other activities scheduled for the Alabama Chicken and Egg Festival include: motorcycle chicken run, BBQ chicken cooking contest, Little Chick Beauty Walk, chicken bowling, Egg Drop for Future Engineers competition, a "Guitar Hero" competition, and the Alabama Farmers Cooperative Agriculture Photography Contest. Admission to the festival is $3 per person and free for those less than 5 years old.
The music line-up this year includes emerging and established artists representing a variety of genres from bluegrass to banjo to a combination of rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll.
Headlining the 2009 Chicken Stage is the Paul Thorn Band. His latest CD, "A Long Way From Tupelo," is a summation of blues, country, gospel, rhythm and blues, and rock 'n' roll.
Also performing will be TomFoolery, Blue Eyed Grass, Robert Montgomery, Dave Davis and the Warrior River Boys, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Randall Bramblett.
"We feel like this is the strongest line up we've ever had," said entertainment coordinator David Norwood.