The 66th Annual Versailles Poultry Days begins today and runs through Sunday in northeast Darke County. NewsCenter 7's Steve Baker was there Friday morning when the first batch of cooked chicken came off the roaster ready to be eaten.

Come hungry! Versailles is cooking 30,000 barbecue chicken dinners for annual festival

5 reasons to go to this chicken-lovin’ celebration 

It’s almost time for one of Ohio’s oldest and most beloved festivals. The Versailles Poultry Days Festival — almost a “local holiday” in West Central Ohio since its beginnings in 1952 — will take place June 14-16. This will be the 68th year of the festival, and the theme will be “Rock -n- Roll All Night & Poultry Every Day!”

Think 70’s rock and roll with a poultry twist.

Festival organizers expect to sell about 30,000 of its world famous barbecue chicken dinners at the festival this year. Most years, these dinners sell out. 

Expect chicken and more chicken at Poultry Days in Versailles this weekend.

>> Where to find the best fried chicken in the Gem City

Here are the five things pulling us to Darke County for this annual event.

FAIR FOOD IS THE BEST FOOD

The World Famous barbecue chicken dinner is the main draw for Poultry Days — every year the event sells out of the specialty menu item, and no other chicken is permitted to be sold on the premises. Event planners warn to get there early to make sure you get your plate instead of leaving empty-handed. The dinner costs $8 and includes half of a BBQ chicken, Mikesells chips, a roll with butter, applesauce and orange drink. Also available: a myriad of craft beers, wines, and other beverages.

>> MORE: The can’t-miss festivals of this summer

The Versailles Poultry Days festival, is one of Ohio’s oldest and most beloved festivals.
Photo: Tom Gilliam

COMPETITIONS GALORE

Celebrating its 38th year, the annual Ultimate Frisbee Tournament is touted as one of the top tournaments in the nation. Then there is the Miss Chick and Little Miss Poultry Days Contests. There is also the Poultry Days Talent Show on Sunday at 3:30 p.m., a cornhole tournament at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. Don’t miss the flower show, where the folks behind artistic arrangements and beautifully unique blooms will battle it out for bragging rights.

>> Your 2019 festival guide

SMALL-TOWN FUN

If classic country fair activities are more your cup of tea, there are two parades: the Grand Parade at 11 a.m. Saturday and the Antique Car Parade at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Other festivities include music, food, beer, rides and more. 

Here’s a Poultry Days throwback. Scenes from the 1953 celebration. CONTRIBUTED

BRING THE KIDS

A returning highlight of the fair is the FREE kids’ tractor pull event on Sunday at 1 p.m. But that’s not all the kiddos can get into. There are also kids divisions for the art and photography show, as well as the egg exhibits. 

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The Versailles Poultry Days Festival has become at West Central Ohio holiday since its beginnings in 1952.
Photo: Poultry Days Facebook page

PHOTO/ART EXHIBIT

The Poultry Days Art and Photography contest is open to all photographers with cash prizes and ribbons up for grabs. This year, there is absolutely no fee to participate. There will be contestants in three categories — student, amateur and professional. Participants may enter their 2-D or 3-D art or photography for a cash prize. The best of show will be awarded an additional cash prize. To see rules, drop off and exhibit times, visit the website for details.

WANT TO GO? 

WHAT: Poultry Days 

WHEN: Friday, June 14, through Sunday, June 16. 

WHERE: 459 S. Center St., Versailles 

COST: Free 

INSIDER TIP: If you can’t make the chicken dinner sales start times, you’ll want to arrive before 5 p.m. each day to minimize the chances of a sell-out. 

PARKING: Side streets around the festival grounds

BEST TIME TO GO: For the Grand Parade, you’ll want to be in town by 10 a.m. Saturday to park and get a good spot on the parade route.

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