NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Organizers of the National Fried Chicken Festival announced the turnout of this year’s festivities and shared the winners for the fest’s top awards.

Organizers said more than 123,000 people gathered at the New Orleans Lakefront for a “flavorful fusion of culture and cuisine” with more than 69,232 attendees on Saturday and 54,345 attendees on Sunday.

While attendees tasted chicken from several different vendors, two took home the titles of “Best Fried Chicken” and “Best Fried Chicken Dish.”

Organizers said the winner of “Best Fried Chicken” was Red Bird, noting their “secret recipe and commitment to quality” helped them win the title.

Bao Mi took home the title of “Best Fried Chicken Dish” with a “KFC” bao described as “taco-like bundles of steamed bun filled with chicken.”

Organizers said Jeff Henderson received the 2023 Culinary Icon Award.

The 2023 festival took place on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 and featured more than 50 restaurants. Live music performances included Big Freedia, The Soul Rebels, Flow Tribe, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Shamarr Allen and more. 

The festival also included a Raising Cane’s Block Party, VIP areas and introduced the HENZ “Food is Culture” stage.

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