National Fried Chicken Festival announces "Pay It Forward" tent to support storm recovery efforts

BATON ROUGE, La (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) - At Wednesday's official kick-off press conference for the second annual National Fried Chicken Festival (FCF) presented by Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers, organizers unveiled several new additions to the two-day event including the 'Pay It Forward' tent to help those in Houston and the surrounding areas recover from Hurricane Harvey.

At the festival, which will take place Sept. 23 and Sept. 24 at Woldenberg Riverfront Park, attendees are invited to visit the tent and make a cash donation to a variety of organizations leading recovery efforts on the ground in Houston and other potentially affected areas along the Gulf Coast. As a festival safety precaution, FCF organizers asked that no one bring supplies or goods to donate.

"What happened to our neighbors in Texas is all too reminiscent of the similar devastation that many of us here in New Orleans experienced 12 years ago to the date," said Cleveland Spears, III, President and CEO of the Spears Group and FCF organizer. "My team and I created this festival as a vehicle to give back and that need has never been greater. This 'Pay It Forward' tent represents our continued effort to support our neighbors along the Gulf Coast as they continue to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and potentially Hurricane Irma."

In the spirit of giving back and recognizing FCF's status as a food and music festival, Spears also announced that a portion of the festival's beverage proceeds would be donated to the Tipitina's Foundation to support and preserve music education for the region's youth. Tipitina's provides an immeasurable service to New Orleans and the entire state of Louisiana through its various programs and support services.

Additionally, the press conference revealed the Ride for Southern Fried initiative taking place in conjunction with this year's festival. In collaboration with the Get Up N Ride initiative, FCF is giving attendees an opportunity to register to participate and meet up with other riders and tour parts of the city including Downtown, and French Quarter area, before finishing at the festival at Woldenberg Park. A bicycle valet will be on-site to store bikes so that riders can go and enjoy the many festivities. Registration will include an official festival T-shirt, bike rental, bike valet (if needed), and a one-hour tour of New Orleans led by a tour guide/DJ. 

The press conference concluded with the sabering of a celebratory Moet Champagne bottle. Back for the second year, Moet has partnered with FCF to provide the Moet Chicken and Champagne Lounge where guests can purchase a special $75 VIP experience which includes private viewing areas, onstage access, complimentary Moet Champagne, one Belvedere Vodka speciality cocktail, and a dish from New Orleans' own Willie Mae's Restaurant.

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