Tomorrow marks July 4th. This, of course means hot weather, hot
dogs and hot pants for all, but the 4th in Nashville is a
celebration of one more important thing: HOT CHICKEN! The 6th
annual Music City Hot Chicken
Festival kicks off at 11 am at East Park on Woodland Street in
East Nashville. For those of you uninitiated to the hot chicken
club (it sometimes happens to longtime Nashville residents for a
variety of reasons), this is your chance to finally try Nashville's
most indigenous local foodstuff. All your flimsy excuses about
irregular hours, unsavory parts of town or your own work schedule
will no longer suffice: Nashville's most storied purveyors of the
fiery yard-bird will be in one convenient location.
After the very first Hot Chicken festival parade, led by former
mayor Bill Purcell, kicks things off, the festival begins at 11.
Free samples will be available from
Prince's Hot Chicken Shack,
Bolton's Spicy Chicken and Fish, 400
Degrees, Smack Your Mama Chicken and Pepperfire for
the first 500 people. A few words of advice to first time festival
goers and hot chicken eaters:
1. Bring plenty of water. Obviously you'll need it to mitigate
the heat of the chicken. But more importantly, you'll need it while
waiting in line in the blazing heat.
2. If you think you want it hot, order it medium. If you want it
medium, go mild. If you want mild, take a walk to
Edgefield for chicken tenders (which are quite good) and cheap,
gloriously cold draft beer.
3. As the cayenne-laced chicken goes to work on your digestive
tract and activates your tear ducts, refrain from wiping your eyes
with your cayenne-caked fingers. This applies for all sensitive
4. Bring your own napkins or wet-naps. See rule #3. You wouldn't
want to deface your prized American flag tanktop with unsightly
5. The white bread is your best friend. Unless you've packed
your own gallon of milk, the slice or two of white bread and
pickles that come with your hot chicken are your best hope for
lessening the burn.
There's also an amateur hot chicken cooking contest between 6
local teams starting at 1:30. A variety of other vendors selling
food include Eastside
Dog of Nashville, Pied
Piper Creamery, Otter's
Brewery and more. Happy 4th, LocalEaters. Wear sunscreen.
Be safe. Enjoy the burn.
Quarter breast plate from Pepperfire.
Bolton's skillet-fried hot chicken.