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By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Chickens will be all around the community of Dixon Springs this Saturday, May 19, as the town hosts its annual Mrs. Bridgewater’s Chicken Extravaganza, a celebration of all things chicken!

From 10 a.m.-3 p.m., the small community welcomes visitors to enjoy live music, chicken judging, arts and crafts vendors, a barbecue chicken lunch, antiques, a quilt competition, games and more.

While Nashville has its yearly Swan Ball, it can’t compete with the small town charm of Dixon Springs, located on the edge of Smith and Trousdale counties. Using four century-old restored buildings as the event’s centerpiece, the Dixon Springs Preservation Association invites people to enter their fine feathered friends in a cash prize completion.

The birds are penned and shown in a special pavilion the group has had built behind the old Cox General Store. There the birds compete for the such distinctions as “best pen of two, a hen and rooster,” “best rooster,” “best exotic breed,” and there is even a prize for the largest egg. There are both juvenile and adult divisions. Contact your local extension service to find out more, as this is a juried event and over $500 in prize money will be handed out.

In addition to viewing the penned-up chickens, the public can shop at vendor booths and tents. Artwork and antiques can be seen and purchased inside the old Stagecoach Inn – another one of the town’s restored buildings.

A quilt show and competition is being held in the old Union Church, which dates back to the 1870s. There are prizes for the oldest quilt, the prettiest applique and the best traditional patchwork. If interested, bring your quilt to the old church between 9:30-10 a.m. The display of quilts, both new and old, draped on the historic church pews is impressive!

An antique button collection will also be on display in the church as well as a hand quilting demonstration.

From 11 a.m.-1 p.m., the group offers a barbecue chicken lunch plate for $6 in the old store building. There will be live music, and one wall of the store is covered in the group’s collection of chicken art! From ceramic rooster salt and pepper shakers to paintings, the group has over 100 pieces of chicken-themed art on display.

At 11 a.m. and again at 2 p.m., there are games for the kids – also with a chicken theme – such as an egg race, an egg toss, and chicken calling!

All of this is in honor of Dixon Springs native Nannie Burford Bridgewater, who was a renowned breeder of Buff Orpington chickens in the early 1900s. Mrs. Bridgewater was more than a local curiosity, as she sold her birds nationwide. She also entered them and won first prizes in competitions in Nashville, Birmingham, Louisville and Atlanta!

Money made from this feathered event goes to fund further restoration of old buildings in town. Be sure to walk through the old bank building and the cottage, which will also be open the day of the event.