By Jeff Noble/ Staff writer
When the 23rd Annual World Chicken Festival cooks into London later this week, the sizzle won’t just be in the skillet, but in the sky.
A fireworks display called “Light Up the Night in London” is one of the new events that will take place during the four-day festival, which begins Thursday.
In an interview Friday, Festival Coordinator Kim Collier said the fireworks will kick off Friday at 10 p.m. and will be a sight to behold.
“It’s a really awesome fireworks display. They’ll be setting the fireworks off up at the old (Marymount) hospital hill. The whole festival will have a wonderful view of the show,” noted Collier, who is also an Executive Director of the London-Laurel County Tourist Commission.
Produced by Pyro Shows of Lafollette, Tenn., the 20-minute show will have more than 5,000 firework shells burst into the night sky, and will be choreographed to music, according to the World Chicken Festival website. To let people know about the big bang to come this Friday night, a big boom will sound every hour over London starting at 5 p.m.
Also new to the festival will be some oversized figures walking onstage for three nights. They’re from Louisville, and Collier said they’re known as the ZOOperstars.
“The ZOOperstars are the incredible, outrageous, crazy and bizarre inflatables that are seen at sporting events. They walk around bigger than life, they work the crowd, make everyone happy and have fun doing it,” added Collier.
The ZOOperstars will do four shows this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Sanders Court Stage, and at the Stage of Stars. To see when they’ll perform, as well as other World Chicken Festival events, you can go to the festival’s website at www.chickenfestival.com.
In addition, Collier said a new lineup of performers will grace the three stages at the festival this year.
That includes a concert with internationally-acclaimed Bluegrass singer and musician Rhonda Vincent, proclaimed by the Wall Street Journal as “the new Queen of Bluegrass.” Vincent’s concert starts Friday at 8:30 p.m. on the Stage of Stars.
Saturday’s headliner will be country singer-songwriter David Lee Murphy who penned the hit single “Big Green Tractor” by Jason Aldean. He’ll be performing Saturday at 9:15 p.m., also on the Stage of Stars.
And this Sunday, the Stage of Stars will be the site of the afternoon Gospel “Egg’stravaganza,” starting at 1 p.m.
For the more adventurous, a four-station Euro Bungee will be set up to allow up to four persons to do a variety of aerial aerobatics safely. Collier pointed out the jumpers can jump as high as 25 feet, as well as do multiple flips.
Other attractions from years past will also be set up, such as Saturday’s car show at South Laurel High School, this Saturday morning’s parade on Main Street, face painting, rides and games, and the festival’s signature feature — the World’s Largest Skillet.
“We have around 97 acts, performers and events during this year’s festival. That’s a lot of things happening.,” Collier noted.
Having plenty of action to go around for four days has helped the festival grow since its inception back in 1990. But Collier feels there’s another reason why those who attend keep coming back to the sights, the sounds, and, the smell of fried chicken wafting over the city.
“It’s the fun and family atmosphere that we try to keep year after year. That’s what brings people back. All of the family can enjoy it. From the music to the contests, to everything going on, the World Chicken Festival is family-friendly.”
By Jeff Noble/ Staff writer
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