Data News Staff Edited Report
Now in its fifth year, the National Fried Chicken Festival (FCF) presented by Raising Cane’s attracted 107,423 attendees to its new location along the New Orleans Lakefront. This year’s event attracted over 62,000 attendees on Saturday, October 1st, and nearly 46,000 visitors on Sunday, October 2nd.
“We were incredibly proud to bring this festival to the New Orleans Lakefront in partnership with the Lakefront Management Authority, and have everyone embrace our new location, restaurants, musicians, and experiences,” said Cleveland Spears, III, President and CEO of the Spears Group and FCF Executive Producer. “Over the past two days, 35 independently owned restaurants showcased their famous dishes on a national stage. We supported local musicians and various community organizations, including Son of a Saint, through our non-profit Community Corner presented by Capital One and Merchant Marketplace presented by New Orleans Tourism and Cultural Fund (NOTCF). We thank everyone for the outpouring of support and love and are already looking forward to 2023.”
After a two-year hiatus, FCF returned with one of its most diverse food lineups to date, with returning local favorites and previous year’s award-winners, including Gus’s World-Famous Fried Chicken, and nationally renowned restaurants like Josephine’s Kitchen from Mississippi, Pollo from Kentucky, Stuff’d from Texas, KOK Wings & Things from Lafayette, and more. With 35+ participating restaurants, FCF 2022 featured a diverse range of food offerings, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Additionally, the festival featured Cane’s Square, the inaugural Custom Car Showcase curated by Hot Cars TV and Drive New Orleans, non-profit Community Corner presented by Capital One, Merchant Marketplace presented by New Orleans Tourism and Cultural Fund, Kids Coop and Family Zone presented by New Schools for New Orleans, two luxurious VIP Lounges, including the Royalty Lounge presented by Crown Royal and the Chicken and Bubbles Lounge presented by Chandon, and a host of other experiences over the fall weekend.
The festival concluded with the 2022 Culinary Icon Award presentation to Andre’ Prince Jeffries, the owner of the award-winning restaurant Prince’s Hot Chicken, known as the original Nashville Hot Chicken. Additionally, bragging rights for this year’s Best Fried Chicken were awarded to Gus’s World-Famous Fried Chicken and Best Use of Chicken in a Dish Award Recipient, Bonafried. Rounding out the two-day celebration were performances from The Soul Rebels, Mannie Fresh, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Flow Tribe, Shamarr Allen, and Chris Ardoin.