The Cutest Little Chick in Town

By Kate Riley April 24, 2010

Many towns across America have their festivals every year which draw the local crowds.  Ours happens to be the ‘Butter & Egg Festival’ on the last weekend in April and it draws folks from all across the county to the tune of 25,000+ people.   The ‘Butter & Egg’ title has something to do with our town’s long poultry history, but I choose not to dig into the details.  Anyway, the ‘Butter & Egg’ kicks off with the Cutest Little Chick in Town contest before the big parade. 

When we first moved to this town twelve years ago, we never would have dreamed we’d be interested in a contest like this.  But then you go and have offspring of your own and something snaps inside of you, and all of a sudden, you want your kid to be crowned the Cutest Little Chick in Town.  It’s a small town pageant where nervous parents parade their ‘chicks’ before judges for the title and $50 bucks in cash. 

Many nails are bitten.  Grandparents pace back and forth.  The competition is fierce.  Every parent wants their critter named The Cutest Little Chick in Town.  I often wonder what the parental penalty is for not smiling on cue in front of the judges. 

A sampling of the candidates before their debut, and their secret thoughts:  

“I’ll endure the paparazzi as long as the lollypops keep coming.”

chick with lolly

“Why yes, my flowered Mary Janes will surely catapult me to a win.”

flowered mary janes


“I refuse to perform without my binky.  You’ll have to talk to my agent.”

binky chick


“Only 4,283 days to go until I’m eighteen and can fly this coop.”

not happy chick


“Sssh. I’m really a rooster.”

poor lad


“I find the sunlight works in my favor to cast an angelic glow.”

little angel


“These people are way too freaked out.  I’ve got this one in the bag.”

got this one


“With these cheeks, surely, the title is mine.”

sweetest chick


So the parents line up and parade their ‘chicks’ in front of the judges.  This one’s only two weeks old !

8 weeks with mom


I confess, I have a soft spot for the tough guy dads.

dad with tatoos


Or the clever costumes, like this little ‘deviled egg’. 

The contest just happens to occur at 10:30 a.m. (naptime)

deviled egg


The winner and runners up of the contest get the privilege of riding on the float in the big parade.  It’s like a big deal.  

So there was that one year when I entered a ‘chick’ of my own.  She was 10 weeks old.  I blame my decision to enter my offspring in a ‘Cutest Chick’ pageant on the hormones. 

Flashback 2004:


She was scarred for life. 

I promised to never do it again.

Tomorrow, the ‘Butter & Egg Festival’ continues with one of the biggest Antique Fairs in the state.  It’s my favorite day of the year.  Wait, no, there’s Christmas, and birthdays and my anniversary . . . so it’s like my 8th favorite day of the year.  But who’s counting. 

What’s your town’s festival that you never miss ? 



  1. We’re moving back to CA this summer (albeit San Diego)-but my 2 best friends live in Sonoma (1 in Petaluma, 1 in Santa Rosa/Bennett Valley)-I swear next year I must come up for this! Too fricking adorable!

  2. Kate this might be the cutest post ever! Especially your own little chick circa 2004!!
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Well, that seals it…. we are now moving to your town! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything cuter in my entire life. I am ashamed of our city! Shame, shame, shame on you Thousand Oaks! :)

  4. We are smack-dab in the middle of my favorite festival! I live in Louisville, Kentucky, and it’s Derby Week! For two full weeks no one in town does a lick of work or talks about anything that doesn’t have to do with the Derby – it’s fabulous!

  5. Oh my gosh….what a fun little festival!!!
    How cute:)
    We have a winter dog parade where the dogs dress up…but it’s nothing like this:)
    LOVE IT!!!

  6. That is hilarious. We live in a a small town also. Next weekend we have the “Amazing Duck Race” where kids race rubber duckies down the river for charity. It’s a whole duck theme….costumes, decor, everything. The whole town turns out and everyone’s chipper and happy to see each other. Lisa~

  7. This is so fun to read for me – we don´t have this kind of tradition in Sweden. Love getting a glimpse of these things, thanks for posting! :-)

  8. How cute!
    My favorite here is the Woodward Dream Cruise in August. Woodward Avenue runs from downtown Detroit and on through about 8-9 cities (?). It used to be THE place for cruising (ala American Graffiti). So on an August weekend everyone brings out their vintage cars, especially the ’60s muscle cars, and they’re allowed to cruise up and down Woodward again, peeling rubber, oldies music blaring. It’s all free, and people park their lawn chairs and just watch the cars go by. It’s great fun!

  9. That is cute. I live in a small town so we love any excuse to have large gatherings. Our biggest and best is the Independence Day festival. Instead of chicks, we all dress our kids in various red, white, and blue outfits. I’ve seen 5 yr old Uncle Sam’s and fire cracker’s, sparklers…you name it, someone here will think of it. It’s great when a community comes together.

  10. I can’t believe how creative these parents were with the costumes. They are fantastic! What a fun day it looks like! Your picture will be one you take out for prom or graduation to do a little humiliation on the poor thing. At least its not a naked picture!

  11. I wouldn’t want to judge that compation. For one those kids are soooo cute. Second I’ve watched that toddler and teirras show, some of those parents are scary.
    I wish we had something like that here, I would love it.

  12. Cute! Cute!! The small town I live in had a spring festival called *Arts Around The Square*. Every year the first weekend in May, they would close the downtown streets and vendors would set up. Everyone in our town seemed to be there and my kids grew up going every year. I live close enough to walk, so it was always fun. After MANY MANY years, they stopped having it a few years ago. Sad.

  13. Haha! So cute!

    We have The Apple Festival – they open up a couple of historic homes, press fresh apple cider, sell fresh caramel apples and fresh apple pies. You can “witch for water” and play some pioneer-era games, listen to an old-timey band and go to a teeny tiny open air market. Fun and tasty!

  14. Oh how cute! We never miss the Stockley Gardens Art Festival. It’s always beautiful and happens twice a year.

  15. I used to live in Regent’s Park which hosted the Easter Horse Harness Parade, cart and carriage horses under long streets lined with cherry blossom, and I just loved it – in the centre of London!

  16. I guess our equivilant is the county fair here. Everything is by county in Maryland and some of my students were running for the queen. My favorite part is taking my children to see the pumpkins and the pigs the size of both gets me everytime. They love it all.

  17. Fierce competition indeed, and I love your captions.
    Who knows, the next Kelly Clarkson may be amongst these chicks :)

  18. What cute costumes. Wish I had been there to attend the antiques part of the festival. What fun!! Love & blessings from NC!

  19. love the photos…quite a few straight faced kiddies there huh? Save the photos’ for their wedding days’ I say!! Ahhh a parents’ sweet revenge.

  20. I love these pictures! I am a teacher in town and am pregnant with our first baby. I already have my super creative mother thinking about how to get our cutest little chick on stage next year! Thanks for posting!

  21. My town has an annual Dickens festival at Christmas time. All of the little shops on our victorian Main Street stay open late. There are street performers, food vendors, the Town Crier announcing the arrival of the Big Guy, carollers. It’s awesome. The last two have been particularly special because it’s actually been snowing!
    A town or two over (it starts to get very rural) is an annual Cranberry festival. All things Cranberry, arts & crafts vendors, food, etc. That’s in the fall when the leaves are turning. I just love the Northeast!

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