On Saturday, Stokes County will be the site for the inaugural World Championship Chicken Stew, an event that organizers believe has the potential to become one of Stokes County’s largest drawing cards.
The new event organized by the Stokes County Arts Council will take place at King Central Park, 302 Kirby Road in King, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3. Sponsored by the Stokes County Arts Council, Flow Automotive, Tuttle’s Body Shop, and Stokes Economic Development, the event will include a chicken stew cooking competition, music, and art and craft vendors. Admission is free.
“It was the desire of our organization to create an event to celebrate one of Stokes County’s most well-known traditions, that being the art of making chicken stew,” stated Arts Council Executive Director Eddy McGee. “When people think of barbecue, they think of Lexington, and when people think of chicken stew, they think of Stokes County, so we thought it was time to take this tradition to another level.”
The event will offer attendees the opportunity to taste and buy chicken stew from 12 school and nonprofit organizations who are competing for cash prizes, ribbons, and the designation as Stokes County’s World Champion. McGee said this first year the Arts Council tried to limit the number of participants so the event would be manageable. The vendors each get a 20-by-20 space where they will set up tents and cooking apparatus.
While the grand prize winner will be chosen via a judging panel, the People’s Choice Award will be given to the most popular chicken stew vendor as chosen by the public. Judging for the tasting competition will begin at 2 p.m., with the People’s Choice competition ending at 4 p.m. and award winners announced at 5 p.m.
Many people claim to have the best stew around. “Here’s your opportunity to find out who’s the best,” McGee said with a chuckle.
Hot dogs, pizza, and desserts will also be available for purchase at the event for those who may not want to purchase chicken stew.
Blues Creek will kick off the musical lineup at the amphitheatre at 11 a.m., followed by Tyler Nail and Friends at 12:45 p.m., the Stokes Tadpoles at 2:30 p.m., One String Over at 4 p.m., and So Glad at 5:45 p.m.
While numerous churches, organizations and families in Stokes hold chicken stews this time of year, McGee said this is the first large-scale chicken stew event he is aware of in the area. The Arts Council hopes to make this an annual event.
“We’re getting the entire county involved … People are excited about it. A lot of people are asking why it wasn’t done before,” said McGee.
The event will be held rain or shine. For more information on the 2012 World Championship Chicken Stew, visit www.worldchickenstew.com or call 336-593-8159.