The Chitlin Festival in Clio, Alabama

by Clayton Yuetter

The annual festival called The Chitlin' Jamboree is a highly anticipated celebration held in Clio, Alabama, a small Southern town of fewer than 1,000 residents. Although it did not occur in 2006 because of a lack of participation, the lively festival has garnered public attention for more than 30 years.

The Festival

The Chitlin' Jamboree in Clio is held for one day on the first Saturday in May. It kicks off with a parade and includes arts and crafts booths, games and live music from local bands. There is also a large variety of food served at the festival, including hamburgers, hot dogs and a variety of pork products, including chitlins. Attendees cannot escape the smell of cooking pork.

The Parade

The parade that kicks off the festival usually starts at 9:00 am. Sponsored by the Clio Civic Club, the parade includes local beauty queens, county emergency and law enforcement vehicles, various four-wheelers and tractors, and decorated, mule-drawn wagons. There are also a variety of floats organized by different Clio groups. The parade also features honored citizens who are being recognized for their service to the town.

The Town of Clio

Clio is a small town located in southeast Alabama. It is the birthplace of the Alabama governor George Wallace, who is infamous for his pro-segregation ideas that he renounced later in his life. It is also where Don Sutton, the Hall of Fame baseball player for the Atlanta Braves, was born. The town has garnered attention across the state for The Chitlin' Jamboree, which is well known among many Alabama citizens.

Chitlins, Explained

Many newcomers to the festival don't know what chitlins are until they arrive. Chitlins, sometimes called chitterlings, are pig intestines that are usually deep-fried. Historically, they were eaten by African-American families in the south, especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Chitlins often have a foul smell when being cooked. There are also other chitlins festivals that occur in the South.