It is January 12th and I’m excited about the 61st Delmarva Chicken Festival to be held on the campus of Delaware State University on June 18th and 19th. The Delmarva poultry industry was born in 1923. That year, Mrs. Wilmer Steele in Ocean View raised chickens to 16 week old birds and sold them at a good profit. Even though the industry started in Sussex County, it seems fitting that the festival will be celebrated at our land grant university in the state capital of Delaware.
The Chicken Festival has an extraordinary tradition of celebrating our state’s number one industry, tremendous educational opportunities for youth and adults, and having just plain fun. This year’s partnership of the Festival with Delaware State University will, no doubt, continue those traditions.
Six days a week, over 200 trucks, or 8 million pounds, of fresh chicken leaves Delaware and the peninsula headed for customers throughout the eastern United States. We live within 8 hours of 1/3 of our nation’s population, making Delaware a “food shed” for the east. All of this generates income, creates jobs and preserves our farmland through profit.
I hope thousands of Delawareans come to the Chicken Festival to learn about all of this and have some fun while doing it. My sincere thanks to everyone associated with Delaware State University and the Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. who are working on the festival. The tradition continues!