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What’s New For
The Alabama Chicken and Egg Festival

The Alabama Chicken and Egg Festival, which is set for April 8 & 9, 2006, is a two-day outdoor festival with food vendors, live entertainment, battle of the bands competition, BBQ chicken cooking contest, children’s activities, and arts and crafts fair. The festival was created to promote and educate the patrons on the 

(From left to right) Patsy Lang; Larry Lang, Chairman of the Live Bantam Chicken Committee; Glen Cryar; and Brent Johnson, Assistant Chairman of the Live Bantam Chicken Committee.

economic impact and health values of poultry and eggs and to recruit new poultry industries in Lawrence County. Over 12,000 people attended the festival in 2005.

The Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that it has received a grant of $5515 from the Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA), the state arts agency, for the 2006 Alabama Chicken and Egg Festival.

ASCA grants are awarded through a multi-faceted competitive review process. This grant signifies that the Alabama Chicken and Egg Festival provides programs of artistic quality, serves the needs of the community and demonstrates high-level administrative standards, as well as enhancing education of students at all levels.

This grant awarded by the Alabama State Council on the Arts is made possible through funding from an annual appropriation from the Alabama State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts. This public support enables the Alabama Chicken and Egg festival to reach new audiences, foster community development, provide the highest quality programming, and demonstrate the importance of arts as a component for quality of life in north Alabama.

New for the 2006 Alabama Chicken and Egg Festival is a live Bantam Chicken Display by master exhibitor Glen Cryar. On April 8 and 9 at the Lions Club Fairgrounds in Moulton, attendees will have the opportunity to see over 100 chickens representing 25 different varieties. One of only four in Alabama, Mr. Cryar is an American Bantam Association licensed judge and has been showing chickens for approximately 35 years.

According to Larry Lang, Chairman of the Live Bantam Chicken Committee, "Having live chickens at the festival was the #1 request from last year’s festival. So, this year we have chickens." The live chickens will be on display in cages under a tent at the fairgrounds. Attendees will not be allowed to handle any of the birds.

While there has been an outbreak of avian influenza in the Far East, there is no reason to be concerned with having live chickens at the festival. "The state of Alabama is free of avian influenza, and the poultry industry and state officials are vigilant in preventing this disease from entering the state," said Donald Conner, Professor & Head, Department of Poultry Science, Auburn University. "There is no risk of contracting bird flu from visiting the Alabama Chicken and Egg Festival."

"The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries has strict testing guidelines for the poultry industry for the purpose of disease prevention and protection of citizens," explains Ray Hilburn, Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture and Poultry Programs Director. "The National Poultry Improvement Plan became operative in 1935 with the objective to provide a cooperative State-Federal program through which new technology can be effectively applied to the improvement of poultry and poultry products throughout the country. The provisions of the Plan establish standards for the evaluation of poultry breeding stock and hatchery products with respect to freedom from hatchery disseminated diseases. For an individual flock owner to join the NPIP, all of their birds used for breeding stock must be tested and banded. Each flock will be visited one time a year to test any new breeders and to spot check old breeding stock and other birds on the farm."

In addition, the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries is testing for avian influenza. Five samples per NPIP flock are tested each time for avian influenza. Furthermore, most commercial broiler flocks are testing 11 birds per broiler flock before processing. According to Deputy Commissioner Hilburn, "Counting our state labs and private labs in 2005 over 100,000 samples were tested for avian influenza from Alabama poultry. Alabama has a written procedure manual for initial outbreak of avian influenza whether that occurs in Alabama or another state in the United States. Our industry operates entirely different from the poultry industry in the Far East. We feel as though our biosecurity and safeguards are effective enough to prevent avian influenza here, but if we do get it that we have programs in place to control the spread of it. It is very rare that avian influenza passes from birds direct to humans even in the Far East. The last known case of avian influenza in Alabama was in 1974 and it was H4N2 type avian influenza. To my knowledge we have never had the H5N1 strain that has caused some deaths in the Far East."

Other activities scheduled for the Alabama Chicken and Egg Festival include: chicken clucking contest, BBQ chicken cooking contest, motorcycle ride, beauty pageant, chicken-wing eating contest, hard boiled egg eating contest, Karaoke for Big Chickens, United Way chicken bowling, gospel egg-straganza, and the Alabama Farmers Cooperative Agriculture Photography Contest.

Sponsors already committed for the 2006 festival consist of Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel, Alabama Farmers Cooperative, Alabama State Council On The Arts, CBS Bank, Gold Kist, ALFA, Pepsi Cola, The Citizens Bank, KFC, City of Moulton, Pilgrim’s Pride, Family Security Credit Union, Southern Printing, Joe Wheeler EMC, International Paper, Lockheed Martin, Marshall Durbin, RE/MAX, and Rocket Harley-Davidson. Education Partners are Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University Poultry Science Department, and UAH Engineering Department. Media sponsors include WAFF Channel 48, WALW 98.3, Moulton Advertiser, WDRM 102.1, and WTAK.

Festival organizers are also seeking additional sponsors and arts and crafts and food vendors to display their goods. Special consideration will be given to vendors with chicken and egg themed products and food. Sponsors will be listed on all printed materials, included in the advertising campaign, and listed on the Chamber’s website. For a sponsorship or exhibitor package, contact the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce at (256) 974-1658 or send an email to [email protected]. For general information on the festival, visit www.lawrencealabama.com and click on the Alabama Chicken and Egg Festival icon or if out of area call toll free at (800) 974-1658.

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Date Last Updated January, 2006