Diners sit under the partially built shade structure.

Diners sit under the partially built shade structure.

The Gainesville Chicken Festival – held at Lake Lanier Olympic Park for the second year – was a huge hit as teams tossed, basted, brushed, and barbequed their dishes vying to become the cook-off king.

In the end, Gainesville Fire Department was named grand champion with other teams winning or placing in the various categories, split between Backyard and Professional divisions.

The October 22 event was mostly about the food but included fun for kids and musical vibes from The Murphs.

A youngster walking with balloon pet chicken following behind.

A youngster takes home “pet” chicken.

“This was the second year at Lake Lanier Olympic Park and we are very pleased with the location,” said Robyn Lynch, tourism director for Gainesville. “We plan to keep the festival at this location.”

She said some 4,000 turned out for the festival and potential parking issues were eased by Gainesville’s Trolley. “(It) was such a hit with the community and we were pleased that we could add this service to the event.”

Lynch said the venue provided room for the cooking teams to spread out and there was plenty of space “for the guests to sit, eat and enjoy the views of Lake Lanier. The bonus was the beautiful weather.”

Photos: by Vicki Hope