It’s time to get your clucks in a row for the second annual Fairhaven Chicken Festival, set to take place on June 17 at Fairhaven Village Green park. The festival, organized by the Fairhaven Association, aims to bring the community together to celebrate all things chicken-related while showcasing the town's agricultural heritage.
The idea for the festival came to Connie Shannon, who was serving on the Fairhaven Association Board of Directors at the time, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
“We were trying to figure out how we could provide opportunities for people to celebrate that were safe and still enjoyable,” Shannon said.
This year’s festival promises a variety of attractions and activities for all ages. Attendees can look forward to chicken-themed games and contests, such as a scavenger hunt with 12 participating Fairhaven businesses, carnival games and raffles for a large chicken panting and a restored chicken lamp. Attendees are also encouraged to dress up for the chicken calling contests and a chance to win one of the several costume contests.
In addition to games and contests, the festival will include an array of artisan craft booths featuring chicken-themed goods. Scott Ward Art, who painted the Fairhaven Chicken Festival poster, LuLu B Custom and Sew Inspired are a few of the artisans who will be present.
The Bayou Opossums will be returning under their festival name, The Bayou Chickens, for the day to provide live music and lead the chicken dance.
No chicken-related food items will be available, but the Fairhaven Association will provide free “seed corn” (popcorn).
Unique to this year’s event is the addition of the Friends of the Bellingham Circus Guild, who will be performing at the park.
Another new attraction will be an enclosed environment with several live chickens for attendees to visit and spend time with. Fairhaven Association Executive Director Heather Carter said due to an avian flu outbreak last year, health department regulations prohibited live chickens from attending the last festival.
Dr. Dana Dobbs, the avian health lead and a field veterinarian for the Washington State Department of Agriculture, said the latest domestic direction in Washington was on February 10, meaning the chickens are not currently in imminent danger.
That said, Dobbs advises chicken owners to continue taking extra precautions, ensure they have good biosecurity in place and stay up to date on recent detections in their area, as there are still detections occurring in wild birds.
As part of the Fairhaven Association’s commitment to safety, they ask that attendees leave their own feathered friends (and all other pets) at home and visit the selected VIP — very important poultry — instead.
“It's a fun, family-friendly, affordable event,” Carter said. “We encourage everyone to come down to the green and explore the village and all of the [surrounding] shops, restaurants and galleries.”
Isabel Hyde (she/her) is a city news reporter for The Front. She is a third-year studying public relations. In her free time, she enjoys watching films, curling up with a good book, and going to local music shows. You can reach her at email@example.com.