Over the last several days, we’ve looked at some interesting people from Alabama’s history. Today, we’re looking at an interesting event and one that – at least in part – will be recreated this weekend.
The city of Madison in Madison County is celebrating what it calls “Christmas Capers” Saturday at 4 p.m. The quaint downtown area of this booming city will be transformed into what organizers call a “winter wonderland” during this time that will include the throwing of rubber chickens off a roof. Why you ask?
According to organizers, during the Great Depression, a Madison man by the name of Doc Hughes started a tradition of throwing live chickens off his drug store roof. The birds, which would sometimes take flight and prompt a chase, were marked with a tag that was redeemable for a prize within the store. Seems awfully close to a famous WKRP in Cincinnati episode to me.
The chickens didn’t only come with a prize – they were the prize. It was the Depression after all, and a chicken meant dinner for many. The event stopped at Holladay’s death in the 1970s but was revived in 2019 for the city’s 150th anniversary.
And, since the Madison Station Historic Preservation Society can’t throw live chickens, they’ve opted for the next best thing with Holladay’s grandson tossing rubber chickens off the top of his old drug store. Catch and chicken and win a prize. As far as I know, it’s the only chicken-throwing Christmas event in Alabama.