Small Town Gets Giant Chicken

In central Georgia there's a little town called Fitzgerald where the folks are friendly, time moves slowly like blackstrap molasses, and hundreds of wild Burmese chickens roam the streets. It's the kind of place that could easily win your heart, if only you knew it existed. Mayor Jim Puckett might love Fitzgerald more than any person can, and is determined to put his town and its most famous residents on the map in, quite literally, a big way: by building a 62-foot-tall topiary chicken (on West Central Avenue, right past the Harvey's Supermarket), which will be the largest topiary chicken in the entire world.

Puckett, who also owns and occasionally mans the grill at a local diner, had originally planned on building a 58-foot-tall chicken topiary to best the chicken topiary in nearby Marietta, Georgia, which is only 56 feet tall. The man building the chicken, who goes by the name of "Topiary Joe," pointed out that adding another four feet to the plans would make Fitzgerald's chicken topiary the largest in the world. Mayor Puckett's response, as he told local news station WALB: "Let's do it."

After breaking ground in October, the giant chicken is at last taking form. Here's the latest shot from the town's official Chicken Cam, which allows those of us who live nowhere near Fitzgerald to enjoy the glory of the chicken in real time:

"What looks like a high dive has been built here and the beginning of the frame of our 62-foot topiary chicken," said Puckett to WTOC. "And most of that is all steel, American steel. A lot of people have asked me, 'What if we have a hurricane?' Our chicken is not going anywhere." Sturdiness is a key element of the chicken, as Puckett says he's planning to put a small bed and breakfast inside the chicken's abdomen.

"[People have asked] are you crazy? Where did this idea come from? Was this your idea? Is it really gonna have a B&B that we can stay in? The answer to that is yes," he said.

Puckett is hoping that the giant chicken will be completed by March 20, which is when Fitzgerald's annual two-day Wild Chicken Festival kicks off. The festival will feature a pancake breakfast, a pinewood derby race, and a chicken crowing contest.