The 2023 National Fried Chicken Festival Features Its Largest Food Lineup To Date

If your idea of heaven is spending two days eating every conceivable iteration of fried chicken (while taking in some music and a car show), then consider this the rapture: The sixth annual National Fried Chicken Festival is being held on the New Orleans Lakefront between September 30 and October 1. Festival goers will be able to sample delectable foods from over 50 chefs and restaurants across the country, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. It won't be all South you're putting in your mouth, either — Mexican, Korean, and Jamaican expressions will be on hand, alongside old-school Low Country, Creole, and Cajun.

Other festival attractions will include cooking classes, a whole mess of New Orleans music courtesy of artists like Big Freedia and Kermit Ruffins, a Merchant Marketplace featuring wares from ocal vendors, and a Car Corral with plenty of hot rides. Various kid-friendly games and activities will be on offer at the Family Zone.

Prices for tickets to attend the outdoor festival range from $15 for single-day general admission to $120 for one-day access to Chicken and Bubbles VIP Lounge, a luxury option with proximity to the performance stage, sparkling refreshments, and a VIP bathroom. Kids under 12 get in free with a ticketed adult.

Full-spectrum deliciousness

The festival website touts its featured restaurants as "the best of the best," and indeed the lineup is impressive and wide-ranging. You are expected to be met with chicken birria tacos from Maryland's Birrieria La Poblana and chicken & Chicago hot link combos from Rickette's World Famous Chicken, Fish, & BBQ in Illinois. Non-meat eaters will also likely be treated to Bluu Herbs' vegan chicken sandwich made from deep-fried, organically-sourced oyster mushrooms, or get down on some New Orleans vegan red beans and rice courtesy of Ladelyo's Creole Catering. Regardless of what's on the menu, every participant will be vying for the title of "Best Fried Chicken" and "Best Use of Fried Chicken in a Dish." For the third year in a row, a Culinary Icon Award will also be presented to a distinguished chef.

The 2023 National Fried Chicken Festival presenting sponsor has some expertise in this department; it's Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers, a fast-food chain that originated in Baton Rouge. The company will be throwing its own self-described interactive Block Party.