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Chick-Fil-A plans New Year's Eve celebration

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald.com

Forget the usual New Year's Eve celebration, in Georgia, of lowering a giant peach over cheering crowds. This year, Chick-Fil-A, on Jonesboro Road in McDonough, is preparing for its annual celebration of ringing in the new year with a giant chicken nugget.

According to Store Manager Billy Thompson, the big event will feature a six-foot nugget made from plaster. To enhance the effect, a crane will drop the special nugget into what will look like a large packet of honey mustard sauce. When it finishes its descent, those in attendance can ring in 2009.

In addition to the lowering of the 'chicken nugget,' Thompson says the celebration will include other activities as well. There will be fireworks at midnight; children's activities; an inflatable moonwalk; a fire-eating magician; face painting; caricature drawings and balloon artists. Special music will be provided by the Boyd Chelsie Band, Matt Thein, David Stroup, Soul Sister Sally, Waiting For Jerusalem and Neil Cooper.

Those attending the free event may park at nearby Sam's Wholesale Club and Dick's Sporting Goods.

The sponsors of this year's event are Dick's Sporting Goods, The Maid Brigade, The Doctor's Office and the Henry County Parks and Recreation Department.

Thompson, who helps organize the store's New Year's Eve celebration each year, explains that the nugget makes an appearance just before midnight every Dec. 31st. "We've had it for the past five years."

He says the event originally started as a way to increase store sales, and it became increasingly popular. The first year, the event attracted 1,500, and the following year there were almost 3,000 in attendance.

"It went so well we decided to do it every year," adds Thompson. "We expect about 5,000 [this year]. It's a good event, and a lot of people love it."