Popular vendor returns to West Tennessee State Fair

JACKSON, Tenn. — The West Tennessee State Fair has officially begun and one vendor has been present for quite a few decades.

The smell of chicken was taking over the Jackson Fairgrounds early Tuesday morning, as the 4-H Chicken Shack was getting prepared for a flood of customers.

It was in 1962 when the ChickenShack began. It has become a staple of the West Tennessee State Fair.

“The 4-H Chicken Shack sauce was formulated up there in Knoxville at the plant science side. I can’t think of the professor that actually come up with the sauce. And it sort of passed through all of the extensions. Of course we in Madison County grabbed a whole of it and used it and have used it ever since,” said Harold Cothran, the pit boss. 

The Chicken Shack is not only a spot to grab a great meal, but it is also a chance to support local kids in the Madison County area. These 4-H students help run the shack, and the money can help pay for some of their expenses throughout the year.

“It’s a teaching tool. That’s how I look at it. It teaches these 4-Hers life skills. Working in a restaurant is a life skill. This is all volunteer work, but we do keep up with the hours they work so it can go towards money to help pay for if they ever go to, for example, if they make it to a state level competition,” Cothran said.

There are many other ways this money is used to help support the 4-H members. If you have never been to the 4-H Chicken Shack, it can get pretty busy. Cothran has some tips to make sure you get your great meal.

“Call in. Call in orders. That’s always the best. But a lot of times these call-in orders are supposed to be put in 24 hours in advance. So if you know, 24 hours in advance that you are going to come here, that’s the best time,” Cothran said.

Cothran has been involved with the 4-H Chicken Shack for nearly his entire life.

The fair will last until Sunday, September 17th. If you would like to see a schedule of events, click here.

Find more local news here.

Categories: Local News, Madison County, News, Seen On 7, Video