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Mike the Headless Chicken Fest returns to Fruita

In September of 1945, farmer Lloyd Olsen attempted to slaughter one of his chickens for dinner. Instead of killing the bird, the act created the feathered celebrity dubbed Miracle Mike, or Mike the Headless Chicken. Mike lived for an additional 18 months after his attempted beheading, thanks to his brain stem remaining intact.

The slightly macabre story is beloved in Fruita, and prompts a festival each year. 

This year visitors did the chicken dance to live music, and participated in eating competitions with marshmallow Peeps or chicken wings respectively.

Families also posed with a headless chicken mascot, while announcers made poultry puns.

Michelle sits at the front gate, welcoming visitors and locals alike. This is her third year volunteering at the festival’s entrance: "We get a lot of people from Fruita and from out of town, all over the area they come. I think all these little towns in this area, Fruita, Grand Junction, Clifton, Palisade, Loma - they're nice little towns, and so they have these fun festivals people like."

Although not everyone who visits Fruita for the Headless Chicken Festival is fully aware of the event’s origin, Miracle Mike’s legacy has surely outlived even his extended lifespan…