It’s that time of year again: food festival season. Whether we’re celebrating heritage pork, slamming tacos, or chasing doughnuts with whiskey, the Mile High City’s lineup of foodie-friendly events is consistently varied and darn near relentless.

But there’s been a fried chicken-shaped hole in our festival scene…that is, until May 25, when the creators of Top Taco bring us the inaugural Chicken Fight.

You may have noticed the uptick of local fried chicken establishments as of late. Chicken Fight organizer Jeff Suskin wanted to jump on that momentum. “Fried chicken is one of those emotional foods, like burgers, tacos, and pizza. Everyone’s got their own spin on it,” he says. Indeed, the festival’s diverse lineup of 40-plus restaurants will surely offer a wide range of creative takes on the classic fried bird, barbecue, and, of course, wings. Expect to see newcomers to Denver’s scene such as the Post Chicken & Beer, Low Country Kitchen, and the soon-to-open Birdcall, as well as long-running fried chicken favorites such as the Welton Street Cafe and White Fence Farm.

We all know that nothing goes better with fried chicken than bourbon, and rest assured that there will be plenty of that flowing from the more than 20 whiskey- and cocktail-tasting booths. “Food is a big part of the equation, but we want it all to come together like a great restaurant—the cocktails, the music, the atmosphere,” says Suskin. Count us in.

General admission tickets are $65, First Taste tickets are $79, and VIP tickets are $125. Buy yours here.

May 25, 7:30 (VIP Admission 6:30)–10:30 p.m. River North Festival Grounds, 3715 Chestnut Place

Editor’s Note: 5280 food editor Denise Mickelsen will serve as a judge at Chicken Fight. 

Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin is a writer living in Westminster, and has been covering food and sustainability in the Centennial State for more than five years.