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 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.
We have worked hard to increase sales while also not jeopardizing the support we 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 7:00 Friday, 7:45 Saturday and 4:30 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. We 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.
Our partners in the festival are astonishing. The Village of Versailles assisting with grounds set up and along with local emergency services provided support throughout the weekend. The Versailles School Board as our host for the weekend and our many partners. The Serendipity Mothers who ran a successful vendor tent, The Versailles Music Boosters, Versailles K of C along with many more. We congratulate the 2017 Miss Chick Abigail White along with the 2017 Little Miss Poultry Days Annabelle Menke. Lastly we thank Joan and Larry Roll for serving as our Honorary Parade Marshals.
We are happy to publish the award winners in the Grand Parade organized by volunteers from the Versailles Fire Department. 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.
What will 2018 bring? Well we hope it brings weather like we have seen the past few years because we will be working to see how far that record can be pushed. If you would have a suggestion for a festival theme or honorary parade marshal, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail us at PO Box 108, Versailles, Ohio 45380. Likewise, if you would like to become more 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 please contact us.
It’s a long wait for the next festival but there is little rest for the board has already been making plans for next year as well as planning our annual blood drive on Monday, September 18th at the Versailles K of C. We want to thank our partners, community, and volunteers along with everyone who attended the festival and invite you to visit Versailles again on June 8, 9, 10th, 2018 for the 67th annual Versailles Poultry Days. For more information, go to www.versaillespoultrydays.com.