Hot Chicken festival 2020

Poster designed by Mary Beth Parkinson. (Photo: Nashville Hot Chicken Coalition)

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) — The annual Music City Hot Chicken Festival will look a little different this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Nashville.

The festival will still take place on the Fourth of July, but instead of gathering in East Park like years past, festival goers are encouraged to order take-out from their favorite hot chicken restaurants and food trucks across the city.

"Just as the 4th of July will always be the 4th of July and can't be rescheduled, so goes the day that Nashvillians have traditionally come together to eat Hot Chicken and celebrate each other," former Mayor and festival founder Bill Purcell announced Thursday morning.

Purcell participated in Mayor Cooper's press briefing Thursday morning to discuss the festival.

"On the 4th of July you can get up, as you should, and begin to think about the freedoms that we all hold dear, those freedoms that go to the beginning of our nation and have continued ever since," Purcell said. "But in Nashville you'll be reminded that we have one additional freedom, which is the freedom to eat hot chicken."

Purcell said Nashvillians should honor hot chicken's "important, historic, and also legendary history" by ordering curbside—or coop-side, rather—pickup. Some of the restaurants participating in the COVID-19 edition of the festival are Prince's Hot Chicken Shack, Bolton's Spicy Chicken and Fish, 400 Degrees, Party Fowl and Hattie B's Hot Chicken.

André Prince Jeffries also spoke at the press conference. She is the owner of Prince's Hot Chicken Shack, the oldest hot chicken restaurant in the city.

"We will be participating in [the festival] at the restaurant," Jeffries said. "We look forward to your visit real soon. There's no me without you."

Festival organizers also announced that Yazoo Brewing is making a new beer called the "Nashville Hot Chicken Coalition Ale" that will serve as a perfect beverage pairing for "the burn of the best Nashville Hot Chicken." The beer is a light wheat ale brewed with sea salt and coriander.

More information is available on the festival's website here.

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