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Chicken-Fried Steak Festival in Lamesa: Legendary Home of a Wonderfully Tasty Texas Accident

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The town of Lamesa in West Texas lies roughly 60 miles south of Lubbock. You’ll want to know this when you plan to get there for its annual Chicken-Fried Steak Festival happening April 28-30 this year in Forest Park. In honor of Lamesa’s claim to fame of being the birthplace of such a delicacy, they’re serving up a Friday night chicken-fried steak cook-off, and an entire weekend of celebration with a classic car show, live music, a hot-air balloon rally and, of course, lots of food!

Chicken-Fried Steak Festival in Lamesa: Legendary Home of a Wonderfully Tasty Texas Accident

Photo: Facebook/Tom’s Famous Family Restaurant

According to local lore, the Midland-Reporter Telegram, and Larry Beshaw of the Austin American-Statesman, James Donald Perkins was a short-order cook in Lamesa and is the man the town has to thank for this delicious Texas dish. It seems that back in 1911, while he was working at a small restaurant called Ethel’s Home Cooking, Perkins made the very first chicken-fried steak when he misunderstood an order for both chicken and fried steak. Instead of making two separate plates, he thought the customer ordered a steak that was battered and fried up like a chicken. And thank goodness, he did!

Chicken-Fried Steak Festival in Lamesa: Legendary Home of a Wonderfully Tasty Texas Accident

Photo: Facebook/Revolver Bourbon Social

A hundred years afterward, Lamesa was granted official recognition in 2011 by the Texas Legislature as the “Legendary Home of the Chicken-Fried Steak,” and the very first Chicken-Fried Steak Festival kicked off that same year. Now an annual event held on the last weekend in April, the festival features that wonderful accident as its main focus, pairing it with the classic car show that draws quite a crowd from around the state, great live music, and the Crossroads Hot-Air Balloon Rally. The rally portion brings a “fire concert” to the festival on Saturday night, as well as balloon lift-offs on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. It’s quite the draw, and Lamesa can be forever grateful that Perkins misinterpreted such an order and created the fated chicken-fried steak in the first place!

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