VERSAILLES — This year’s Versailles Poultry Days festival was a record-setting event, according to festival organizers.
Versailles crushed the prior record of 26,640 dinners set in 2016 by selling 27,620 World Famous Barbecue Chicken Dinners this year. While it took 14 years to break the previous record set in 2002, it only took a year to crush that record. The festival was blessed with great weather and strong support from the Versailles, Darke County, and Miami Valley communities.
In Versailles, the age old question isn’t why did the chicken cross the road, it’s why do you sell out of chicken. The committee relies on experience, weather and years of record keeping to plan how much to cook. If too much is cooked, losses are incurred which impact our ability to support community projects. If we don’t cook enough, we leave hungry visitors. To make things worse, the cooking process itself requires that the decision on how many birds to cook must be made hours before the crowd arrives.
Organizers have worked hard to increase sales while also not jeopardizing the support they offer in the community. Another focus of the committee has been to ensure that we don’t sell out early in the evening. For the second year, the chairmen achieved those goals by not selling out until 7 p.m. Friday, 7:45 p.m. Saturday and 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
With positive momentum since 2009, the festival has increased sales year over year from 20,880 dinners to achieve the astonishing number of 27,620 in 2017. Organizeers had a few new volunteer chicken lines this year and a few “old hands” also showed up to pitch in where needed. Also, the Versailles Lion’s Club stepped in to organize a massive amount of chicken to speed cooking. Lastly, we had to pull in a sixth cooker on Saturday just to keep up with demand.
The festival was a whirl of activities again this year and we will continue to publish pictures of event winners and post on social media as they are received. A very special activity this year was the Versailles FFA’s tent which was a popular activity for children as they got hands on experience with young animals as well as farm tasks such as driving a tractor or milking a cow. Of course one of the best kept secrets in the Miami Valley is the Poultry Days Ultimate Frisbee Tournament. Pollos en mis Pantelones of Cleveland battled 64 teams from throughout the United States and Canada to become the Ultimate Champions for the second year.
The partners in the festival help make it successful. The village of Versailles assists with grounds set up and along with local emergency services provided support throughout the weekend. The Versailles School Board was the host for the weekend. The Serendipity Mothers who ran a successful vendor tent, The Versailles Music Boosters, Versailles K of C along with many more.
Winners in the grand parade, which organized by volunteers from the Versailles Fire Department, were: Chairman’s Award – Busy Beavers 4-H; Commercial Award – Brilliant Beginnings; Theme Award – Second National Bank; Junior Civic – Versailles FFA; Senior Civic – Shelby County Right to Life; Mayor’s Award – Towne and County Players; and Queens Award – The Winery at Versailles.
Anyone who would have a suggestion for a festival theme or honorary parade marshal for the 2018 festival should email the group at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail, P.O. Box 108, Versailles, OH 45380. Anyone who would like to become involved with the festival, are involved with a community organization or business that would like to conduct an activity or simply have an idea for an attraction should contact the organizers.
The board’s annual blood drive will be held Monday, Sept. 18 at the Versailles K of C. The 2018 festival will be held June 8, 9, and 10, 2018. For more information, go to www.versaillespoultrydays.com.