POTTERVILLE, Mich. — If you love deep fried chicken gizzards or want to try them for the first time, head to Potterville. Gizzard Fest is back, and it's taking over.
"I feel like Gizzard Fest does put the city of Potterville on the map. That is our biggest event of the year," city of Potterville Zoning Administrator Brandy Miller said. "It brings a lot of economic development to our downtown businesses and to our businesses located off from Lansing road."
The festival is put on by the city and the Potterville Chamber of Businesses in conjunction with their sponsors and vendors.
The festival kicked off Thursday afternoon and will continue through Saturday.
Besides eating gizzards, you can also have a front row seat to the parade, check out the carnival, watch a car show, see live music and shop with a number of vendors plus a lot more events scheduled.
"This year, we are hosting our first ever and our first ever hopefully annual Gizzard Fest pageant," Miller said. "It is a pageant where young ladies of the city of Potterville that attend Potterville schools have done community service and a lot of team building exercises in the hopes to win a $500 and $300 scholarship."
The Benton Township Emergency Services Association is having a 50/50 raffle to help purchase items for their department.
"This is to help to purchase items for their department. And the tickets are $10 a piece," Potterville Mayor Jennifer Lenneman said. "It starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, and it ends at 7 p.m. with the drawing at 8 p.m. on Saturday night."
If you're really hungry and brave, you can enter into the gizzard eating contest. Whoever can eat two pounds of fried gizzards the fastest, will win $100 and a plaque. There will also be second place and third place winners.
"We usually take up to 12 people is the fastest two pounds eaten, so they have to eat the the batter and the gizzard. They can use whatever side item to dip it in sauces, water, whatever their technique is," said Joe Bristol owner of Joe's Gizzard City. "If you can't keep it down, you're disqualified."
"In the early 80s, It was known as Potterville Days and the Chamber of Businesses. At that point, we wanted to find a catchy theme, so they chose to go with Gizzard Fest due to Joe's Gizzard City," Miller said.
Joe's Gizzard City is an iconic spot in Potterville.
"Joe's Gizzard City has been open since 1960. It's more a family owned business. We specialize in deep-fried chicken gizzards lots other deep fried delicacies," said Bristol.
But, what are Gizzards?
"It is a muscle that's located in the tummy of the chicken, which kind of they call it a grinder muscle and grinds the food and kind of pushes it the way it's supposed to go," Bristol said.
And he says it taste like chicken.
"Most places they cook them will be rubbery. Ours are pressure cooked," Bristol said. "And so, my grandfather's slogan was so tender, you can cut it with round and have a spoon."
Gizzard Fest entry is free, but there is a cover charge of $5 to get into the beverage shop during live music. Wristbands for the carnival are $20 a piece.
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