National Poultry Day started as a small-town celebration in Versailles, Ohio in 1951 and expanded to an annual festival for thousands of Americans to celebrate and enjoy. This year it falls on Saturday, March 19.

The U.S. poultry industry is the world’s largest producer and second largest exporter of poultry meat and is a major egg producer. Almost 18% of the total U.S. poultry production is exported. Recent years have seen increased consumer awareness of the role that protein plays in health and well-being, resulting in rising demand for high-protein foods like poultry and eggs. Poultry without the skin and white meat cuts contain less cholesterol and saturated fats. And that’s not all! Once the preserve of bodybuilders, protein has propelled into the mainstream food culture and is associated with weight management, satiety and supporting lean muscle development.

While chicken and duck are staples in ASEAN countries, turkey meat was originally reserved for Thanksgiving and Christmas. These days, turkey is well stocked and is readily available in supermarkets and grocery stores, along with Halal offerings around the region.

In the early years since the first celebration in 1951, National Poultry Day began as a single-day event. The holiday was especially important to local farmers as it provided them with the opportunity to showcase their poultry products. Over the years, more people became aware of the date and started to participate in the celebrations, turning it  into a two-day festival over acres of open space, complete with shelter houses, a sports field, barbeque pits and beer tents.  It’s a great occasion for families and friends to gather round and enjoy the festivities and great food.

What is even more amazing is that all proceeds from the event go towards funding the park’s maintenance and are donated to charities.