Can you stand the heat? Chicken Festival qualifying contest at Old Town Grill

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky (WYMT) - With the 30th annual Chicken Festival just around the corner, Old Town Grill in London, Kentucky held their last qualifying event Wednesday night.

Old Town Grill partnered with the Chicken Festival five years ago. The past three years they have held qualifying contests to get contestants ready for the fiery hot sauce at the festival.

"My dry cleaner here in town came up with an idea and said why don't you do a qualifying event at the restaurant, " said Mike Caffery, owner of Old Town Grill.

So they did. "We did the same rules as the Chicken Festival everyone gets three pounds of wings in a numbered bucket," said Caffery. "We smoke our wings for three and a half hours. And then we started making sauces and we did not have a clue. We went and got ghost pepper, extracts, and peppers. So the first year we did not have a clue. But last year we got really good at it."

With quite a few participants each year, this contest helps build the excitement of the festival.

"It has been really fun leading up to the Chicken Festival because everyone that qualifies gets a red shirt. So all our guys from OTG we know who they are," said Caffery.

Wednesday night two contestants went on to qualify and will be at the Chicken Festival representing Old Town Grill.