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By John Oliver, President, Historical Society

Chickens will once again be roaming the streets of Dixon Springs on Saturday, May 20, as the town hosts its annual Mrs. Bridgewater’s Chicken Extravaganza.

Nashville may have its yearly Swan Ball, but this small community at the edge of Smith and Trousdale Counties uses the Saturday before Memorial Day to celebrate all things chicken!

A large pavilion has been built behind the town’s century-old country store building and chickens of all breeds and descriptions will be on display. Prizes will be awarded and cash money given to such categories as Best Pen of a Pair: hen and rooster, Best Rooster, and Best Exotic Breed.

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It will be chickens galore this Saturday at the annual Mrs. Bridgewater’s show in Dixon Springs.

In addition, there will be live music, assorted vendors and artists selling original arts and crafts, antiques, a plant sale, games for children and a quilt competition. Event organizers will also be hosting a barbecue lunch in the old store building from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

At the welcome tent, visitors will have the chance to purchase chances to win a large painting of a chicken done by local artist Amber Swooner. Each year, the event’s organizers raffle off a work of chicken-themed art.

All of this is in recognition of Nannie Burford Bridgewater. Miss Nannie was a resident of the town at the turn of the previous century. In the early 1900s, she was a nationally famous breeder of Buff Orpington chickens. Just how famous was she? She won ribbons and silver trophies in Nashville, Atlanta, New York and even London! She was selling breeding pairs of her Buff Orpingtons for $25 a pair; this was at a time when many men worked for only a dollar a day!

Anyone with a chicken or rooster can enter the competition under the pavilion. Just be there to sign in between 9-10 a.m. There are prizes in both adult and youth divisions. The younger contestants will also have the opportunity to display their artistic talents, as there are prizes in their division for Biggest Egg, Prettiest Display of 12 Eggs and Best Original Chicken Themed Artwork! Judging is at noon with the prizes announced at 1 p.m.

The community’s 1870s-era Union Church building will be the location of this year’s patchwork quilt competition. You can bring your old or new quilts to the church between 9-10 a.m. to compete for cash prizes for Oldest Quilt, Prettiest Traditional Patchwork Quilt and Prettiest Applique Quilt. In addition, the church will have a display of antique buttons for the public to admire. Other old buildings will also be open for visitors to tour.

All of this is part of the town’s efforts to raise money for historic preservation. In the past monies raised have helped restore the community’s old bank building, the general store, a small cottage, an historic stage coach inn, and helped with the upkeep of the Union Church.

If you have a hankering to see a whole lot of chickens, enjoy some good music, food, and shopping, just mosey down the road a short distance, follow the signs and enjoy the day in historic Dixon Springs. Events start at 10 a.m. and last until 3 p.m.