DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — If you have not figured out dinner yet, this story might just make your mouth water.

The 2023 Versailles Poultry Days are underway, but before the festival can open, hours of work go into prepping their famous chicken dinner.

Preparation started at 3 a.m. Friday morning to cook the chicken that is going to feed thousands of people that pass through Poultry Days this weekend.

“This might be the world’s largest chicken barbecue,” Eric Stachler, Poultry Days publicity chair, said. A lot goes into preparing 38 thousand chicken dinners over three days. “Put the birds in racks, ten fresh birds in a rack, and it goes around on a rotisserie.”

The chicken will stay there for 10 hours — just enough time to ensure each meal is made with love.

“The time and the care that the chefs take with this, they just they use very specific charcoal,” Stachler said. “The recipe is secret. We don’t share it. So, a lot of pride, a lot of love goes into it.”

This year’s theme is Chilly Willy Wonka and the Chicken Factory, a homage to the festival’s signature drink that comes with every dinner.

“For years and years, it was branded as a Chilly Willy,” Matt Poeppelman, Poultry Days chairman, said. “That was the name of the orange drink. That’s since changed, but the name is still lingering and sticks around.”

Keeping with the Wonka storyline, if you find a golden ticket, you could win free Poultry Days chicken for life.

“There will be three golden tickets randomly placed into one of these coolers or an individual dinner throughout the weekend,” Poeppelman said.

It’s estimated around 50 thousand people attend Poultry Days each year, and it takes countless volunteers to run the drive-thru and walk-up lines — proving something as simple as a half chicken dinner can bring a whole community together.

“It’s kind of Christmas in June for Versailles,” Stachler said. “It’s a time to celebrate. A lot of businesses close. We welcome friends and family, but we take a lot of pride in it.”

Since the festival started back in 1952, they have estimated they have served more than 1 million chicken dinners.