Gainesville, Georgia has gone to great lengths to establish itself as the “poultry capital of the world.” They’ll even “arrest” a 91-year-old woman for eating fried chicken with a fork instead of her fingers.
Ok, so the arrest was staged by a friend. Still, an ordinance in Gainsville says everyone must eat fried chicken, “a culinary delicacy sacred to this municipality, this county, this state, the Southland and this republic,” with their hands.
A little overstated, the ordinance is, of course, tongue-in-cheek. It was devised as a publicity stunt in 1961 in the hopes of getting enough attention that people would come to think of Gainsville as the fried chicken capital of the world. We’re not sure what the competition looks like for that title.
It turns out you really can be arrested for violating the ordinance, though no city in their right mind would spend taxpayer money taking it to court.
It did, however, make for a good birthday joke back in 2009. Ginny Dietrick was visiting from her home in Louisiana for her 91st birthday. While eating lunch at Longstreet Cafe, Gainesville Police Chief Frank Hooper strolled in and told Dietrick she was under arrest for eating her fried chicken with a fork.
We’re not sure surprising a 91-year-old that way is the best course of action, but her friend, Gainsville resident A.C. Marshall thought it was a great way to celebrate. Of course, it was all a practical joke, and Marshall set up her official pardon on the spot by inviting Gainesville Mayor Myrtle Figueras to the Longstreet Cafe.
“You are required to come back to Gainesville often and are required to eat lots of Gainesville chicken,” Figueras told her.
Luckily, Dietrick got more out of it all than just a scare. According to the Gainsville Times, Abit Massey, president-emeritus of the Georgia Poultry Federation, ordained Dietrick an Honorary Georgia Poultry Princess. We’re not sure what other rights and honors come with the title.
This was Dietrick’s first poultry-related run-in with the law. She did recall getting some sort of parking ticket in the 1940s.
According to the Gainsville Times:
“Dietrick’s arrest citation ordered her not to get up from the table until she mastered the proper techniques for consuming this succulent delicacy, ‘down to and including the licking of the fingers upon the ingestion of the last available morsel.'”
Presumably, she had a good attitude about it. We’d like to see someone try to order us by law to eat a certain way. – WTF Fun Fact