- Associated Press - Monday, February 20, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A bill to make a Fayetteville festival that hasn’t been held yet North Carolina’s official fried chicken festival is ruffling feathers in Rose Hill which has held a jubilee to honor the deep-fried bird for five decades.

Fayetteville officials were looking for a new festival and did not know the Duplin County town of 1,700 had its own festival since the 1960s.

“By no means are we trying to offend anybody, we just came up with an idea and we ran with it. And we’d be happy to talk with those folks over some chicken,” Fayetteville organizer Bill McMillan told the News & Observer of Raleigh (https://bit.ly/2lDfbCc ).

McMillan already helps with Fayetteville’s Dogwood Festival.

The bill filed last week is more about honor than money. Official North Carolina events don’t get benefits from the state, but it can be a helpful tool to bring in sponsors and visitors.

Rose Hill is in Duplin County on Interstate 40. It claims the world’s largest working frying pan that can cook 365 chickens at once and is headquarters to Raeford Farms’ large poultry operation.

Poultry Jubilee Committee Chairwoman Lynn James said Rose Hill’s festival started in the 1960s, attracts 9,000 people and rivals Christmas in the town of about 1,700 folks.

“By midmorning the whole town smells like fried chicken, and by 11:00 am, that first batch of golden, crunchy, tender, moist, and oh so delicious Jubilee Fried Chicken is just right and ready to sink your teeth into,” James told the newspaper in an email.

State Rep. Elmer Floyd filed the bill to give the Fayetteville festival official status. The proposal notes the poultry industry in North Carolina “has an economic impact of over $36 billion and produces more than 126,000 jobs.”

The Cumberland County Democrat said he is fine talking to Rose Hill officials to find a compromise that satisfies them too.

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Information from: The News & Observer, https://www.newsobserver.com


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