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By John Oliver, President, Historical Society

Chickens will be all around the Smith County community of Dixon Springs this Saturday, May 18 as the town hosts its annual “Mrs. Bridgewater’s Chicken Extravaganza!”

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the small community welcomes visitors to see chickens of every size and description. The birds will be part of a competition to see who has the prettiest or most exotic or largest chicken, with cash prizes going to the winners.

Submitted photo

You can merely visit or raid your own backyard coop and enter. The categories are: best pen of a pair, rooster and hen; best rooster; best exotic breed; best groomed pen of at least three fowl; prettiest hen; and largest egg! There are both juvenile and adult divisions with first-, second- and third-place awards. A thousand dollars in prize money is available.

But that is not all the day offers!

There will be vendors selling handmade and handcrafted items, live music, antiques on display and a barbecue chicken lunch served in the town’s 100-year-old general store.

A quilt competition is also being held in the Dixon Springs Union Church building. It too will have prizes for oldest quilt, prettiest patchwork, most unique design, most colorful quilt and best applique.

Entries in both competitions need to sign in between 9:30 and 10 a.m. Judging begins at 10 a.m. with prizes awarded at noon.

During the day there will be games for children such as an old-fashioned egg race, an egg toss and chicken calling! And every year the group has live chicks for the little ones to see and their local chicken expert will explain how to tell a baby hen from a baby rooster!

Besides seeing the chickens under the pavilion behind the general store, the town’s old bank building is open for a display on local history. The old stagecoach inn will be open with some vendors set up inside, as well as a century-old cottage and the church.

This annual fundraiser is named for local chicken breeder Nannie Burford Bridgewater who, in the early 1900s, was nationally known for her Buff Orpington chickens. The money raised goes toward restoration of the town’s historic old buildings and is sponsored by the Dixon Springs Preservation Association.

All events take place on the main street of town, which is also the only street in town, just a block off of Highway 25 between Hartsville and Carthage.

You can learn more at mrsbridgewater.com.