Chicken & Bread Days Heritage Festival

Chicken and Bread Days logoEvent Overview


The 25th Annual Chicken and Bread Days Heritage Festival is set for Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. The reoccurring first Saturday in October event continues to pay tribute to the history of the community.

As the history is told, Amon G. Carter would sell chicken and bread sandwiches to the passengers stopped at the train depot. However in 1908, an ordinance was passed forbidding the young men from peddling around the depot – ending the tradition. This didn’t end the chicken business.

Mose Johnson didn’t realize he would be creating a legacy for this community when he and his wife, Mabel, began their journey with just $15 and a shoebox full of baby chicks. The first “Mammoth Incubator” with a 6,000 egg capacity in Texas was started. The M. Johnson Poultry Ranch went on to become the breeders of the World’s Best Laying Strain of Single Comb White Leghorns covering 350 acres (where North Central Texas College campus is currently located).

Therefore, Bowie had a World’s largest chicken ranch before the World’s largest knife. That is quite a history.

With this pioneering spirit, the tradition of Chicken and Bread Days Heritage Festival was hatched.

A preview evening Sip & Stroll begins Friday, Oct. 2 downtown starting at 5 p.m. Look for more on participants in future promotions and signs.

Beginning Saturday morning will be the traditional fiddling talents. The Chicken and Bread Days Fiddler’s Contest is an approved Texas Old Time Fiddlers’ Association Contest. There is no entry fee, but one must be a TOTFA member to compete.  Membership applications are at texasoldtimefiddlers.org or at the contest. Registration opens at 9 a.m. at the fire hall at 203 Walnut Street.

With the tunes filling the air, classic and antique vehicles will be on display for the Piston Heads Auto Club show. Special awards in six various divisions to be given. Dash plaques go to the first 100 entrants. Entry forms are at pistonheadsautoclub.com.

Bowie Community Development is really expanding the footprint of this event. An Art Exhibit, sponsored by the Bowie Alliance for Education and the Arts, has moved and will be in the Bowie Public Library at 301 Walnut Street. Artwork – painting, photography, three-dimensional, and paper works – can be delivered on Friday, Oct. 2 between noon and 6 p.m. The awards reception will be at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. There will also be authors for book signings.

Heirloom quilts will be shown in the Silver Strings Entertainment Center (blue building), located at 500 N. Smythe Street from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stop by and be enriched by the stories each of the quilts tell. All sizes of quilts will be welcome from a baby throw to king. A great People’s Choice award will be up for grabs so be sure to register your quilt today.  Please send quilt registration and consent forms to: Quilt Show Coordinator Jamie Dunnam by e-mail Jamie.Dunnam@gmail.com or mail them to Bowie Community Development office at 101 E. Pecan Street, Bowie, Texas 76230.

Live entertainment and dance performances will continue throughout the day. Enjoy the pumpkin patch for the perfect fall photo backdrop. Along with a Kids’ Coop with plenty of inflatables for fun and excitement with all day passes for just $5 per child. Games for 12 years and younger include egg toss, pumpkin sweep race, and stick horse riding. Winners will receive prizes.

Heritage Market includes many wonderful craft and food vendors – yes, chicken and bread too – vendor locations are still available.  Contact Cindy at Bowie Community Development at BCDB@CityofBowieTX.com or find forms on Facebook: Chicken & Bread Days Heritage Festival. Appreciation is extended to all of the sponsors and volunteers supporting this annual event.


Quick Glance Guide


  • Date: Saturday, October 3, 2020
  • Location: Downtown Bowie
  • Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Features and activities:
    • Heritage Market and Vendors
    • Piston Heads Auto Club Antique and Classic Car Show
    • Live Musical Entertainment and Performances         
    • Fiddler's Championship Contest, approved by the Texas Old Time Fiddlers' Association (inside Bowie Fire Department located at 203 Walnut Street)
    • Food Trucks and Vendors
    • Kid's Coop Inflatables, Games, and Prizes
    • Quilt Exhibit and People's Choice Award (Silver Strings Entertainment Center located at 500 N. Smythe Street)
    • Art Show and Competition, sponsored by the Bowie Alliance for Education and the Arts (Bowie Public Library located at 301 Walnut Street)
    • Book Signing (Bowie Public Library located at 301 Walnut Street)
    • Photo Booth
    • Horse Drawn Carriage Rides