New Orleans Fried Chicken Festival Is Back

Photo by Brian Chan on Unsplash

It appears New Orleans does indeed have room for more festivals, especially if it honors the beloved fried chicken. Between Popeyes and the takeover by Brothers Food Mart and the popping up of the excellent gas-station chicken counters, New Orleans has its fried chicken game on lock, and the two-day, 2023 National Fried Chicken Festival, held September 30 – October 1 at the New Orleans Lakefront, aims to also showcase as many variations as possible.

FCF 2023 will feature its largest and most diverse food lineup to date, with over 50 participating restaurants showcasing their unique spins on the iconic Southern dish for an opportunity to take home the festival’s “Best Fried Chicken” and “Best Use of Fried Chicken in a Dish Awards.” For the third year, the highly-coveted Culinary Icon Award will also be presented to a prominent chef who has made remarkable contributions to the culinary industry.

The festival’s roster of “experiences” has a beer garden, two VIP lounges, a family zone, a teacher hospitality lounge, and more. New this year is the “Food Is Culture” stage, in addition to the usual two music stages. It will feature cooking demonstrations, TED-style talks, panel discussions, and more with national celebrity chefs and culinary thought leaders.

Besides the diversity of musical acts (Big Freedia, The Soul Rebels, Kermit Ruffins, and many more), there’s also going to be a diversity of cooked chicken. While everyone is coming to the festival to partake of the South’s favorite fried treat — a meal that is, indeed, beloved around the world — don’t forget that there are some major competitions on the line. The eating and cooking contests are guaranteed to be entertaining, and a team of national food writers, bloggers and critics will be on hand as judges.

As in the previous years, the fest will have more than chicken. It promises vegan options, vegetarian options, gluten-free options, and more.

Please note that the fest doesn’t allow pets and coolers, and it’s a cashless event with no re-entry except for the VIP ticket holders. Chairs and blankets are welcome.

So, come with an appetite. This is New Orleans, and folks love their chicken. We expect to see many tourists and local friends with a wing in their hands, and a smile on their faces!

 The National Fried Chicken Festival, presented by Raising Cane’s, is held on Sept. 30 – Oct. 1 at the Lakefront. Get your tickets ($15-$120) here