The question is being asked around town and in the county, “Why a Chicken Festival in Clinton Kentucky?” Simple words spoken but they frame a rather complex issue and even more complex answer.
The complex issue that underlies the question of having a chicken festival is about how a small town survives the future shock of the 21st century. The question goes to the issue of who we are and who we want to be as the pages of the early 21st century years gather into a second decade.
Many of us grew up on a small farm or had family who grew up in the county. Sunday dinners after church usually meant a full course of good food served to a large extended family of uncles, aunts, and cousins. More often than not, the main course was cooked around chicken. Fried, baked, barbequed, grilled, the story was the same. Each of our mothers held close to their breast secret spices and herbs recipes given down the years from grandmother to mother to daughter.
We remember these parts of our youth as the good times. More often than not, these moments happen upon freshly cut grass chasing lightning bugs well into spring and summer nights; yards out in the country where life took on a quiet quality of stillness at night and simplicity during the day. At these family gatherings, children’s laughter framed the background sound effects as the grown ups smoked or sipped drinks on the front porch after dinner.
These were times that families gathered to enjoy each other’s company. After dinner was the time that families talked of the good things that had touched their lives that week. It was also a time to discuss the weeks ahead and the need for strength or resources to weather the demands of an outside world. It was time of playing and having fun.
That was the image of growing up in the youth of our collective minds. Now the city of Clinton and Hickman County stand at a crossroads. One path waiting us is the path of status quo where we continue to lose jobs and population. Taking this path is easy for it requires no new thinking; just keep doing what we are used to. The other path before us, as a community, is the path of awareness in which we move to embrace change and chart a new future for all of those who live in Clinton and Hickman County.
Our hearts tell us not to change. Change only brings disruption and new demands upon our lives. However, our brains tell us that change is the normal constant that frames all life on the planet. Change is the deciding factor for survival of the species. Change left undirected becomes a negative force, power thrust upon a body at rest.
Change is also an opportunity to take charge of the future. This is what the leadership of the Clinton Spring Chicken Festival had in mind with the concept of throwing a massive spring party for the community. The Spring Chicken Festival has become our new community front porch on a spring day and night. Good times will be had and great food will be eaten. The sounds of laughter will be supplemented with live music during the festival.
If we invent, even for a few hours, a new community “Front Porch” to share with friends and family, Clinton and Hickman County move toward a new path of awareness where we collectively start to clean up our surroundings, take pride in who are, and work toward making our town a new town for a new century.