Batesburg-Leesville, SC (Paul Kirby) – Despite some dampening rains Saturday evening and night, and a train or two making the party pause, the 2019 SC Poultry Festival in Batesburg-Leesville over the weekend was a huge success! As they’ve done year after year, the committee that puts this event on excelled in developing a family friendly atmosphere that drew thousands to the town where history meets now. Whether you stationed yourself along Main Street for the parade, made your way over to Columbia Avenue for the car or antique tractor show, or enjoyed the food, rides, music, and games along Leesville Avenue, there was absolutely something for everyone.
The SC Poultry Festival really is a three-day event full of fun for everyone. From gospel singing Thursday evening to the culmination of the event on Saturday well after dark, it was all a sight to behold. You could participate in a cornhole, volleyball, or golf tournament, see a man carve art with a chainsaw, or watch children of all ages dance, tumble, sing, and entertain their parents, grandparents, or just people who stopped to watch.
Food you ask, of course there was food! Beside hosting the #1 World’s Best Chicken Cooking Contest, a cake auction, and many other hometown treats, they were but a few small parts of the “stuff yourself silly” opportunities to take advantage of. By the time the parade kicked off on Saturday, the air was filled with the smells of great things to eat that were mixing together to make the best of perfumes possible. Really, I wonder if you could bottle those smells? You might just make a killing! There was bar-b-que, but that was joined by the smell of smoked turkey legs, burgers, popcorn, and lots of opportunities to satisfy your sweet tooth. From sno-cones, sno-balls, elephant ears and candy apples, to fresh lemonade and sweet tea, it was a taste bud and smells of the fair sensory overload if you indulged and many did.
The crowds were so thick on Main Street at the College Street end by the time of Saturday’s parade, that people were standing almost shoulder to shoulder. There were vendors selling everything from baby-doll dresses to hand made signs, many of which had sayings that would make you chuckle. There were booths about safety, insurance, and just about anything else you could ever need. Chief Jay Hendrix of the Batesburg-Leesville Fire Department and Chief Wallace Oswald of the Police Department had plenty of personnel on hand to deal with just about any emergency. They also had MRAPs and fire trucks on display that allowed both young and old to dream of catching the bad guy or putting out a roaring blaze someday.
The parade was great. In case you haven’t heard, it was really great! The weather was nice and there were people everywhere dressed in shorts, college gear, and even gowns and tiaras. The police chief led the way as always followed by politicians, beauty queens, the B&L High School Marching Panther Band, the JROTC, fire trucks, the Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and lots of church groups. Of course, there were chickens of every shapes and sizes. The official SC Poultry Festival chicken road atop an old fire truck, black jacket and bow tie in place. He was the proper chicken. Others strutted along while others just rode and waved. One driving a car, was pulling a trailer and seemed to be doing his best attempt at the Funky Chicken. Meanwhile, on the trailer, an egg and a little girl riding a rooster were breaking it down to blaring music on the back. That drew a ton of laughs because the chicken had a beard and the egg danced to country and rap without displaying any effort during the switch up between the songs. If you haven’t gotten it yet, the parade was great!
All in all, the 2019 SC Poultry Festival was just a lot of fun. Kudos to the committee for organizing it again. You’d be remiss to forget to thank all the others that joined them and took some part in making this town wide party a success. From the police officers and firefighters, the town employees that set up barricades and emptied the trash, the B&L Chamber of Commerce, and the businesses of the town, all had a hand in making it a success. The SC Poultry Festival marks the beginning of the warm weather festivals in Lexington County. As the leader of the pack, it’s always a great beginning. We can’t wait for next year!