Mike The Headless Chicken Lives On, And On, At This Unusual Fruita Festival

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Photo: Fruita Mike headless chicken statue - Flickr
A metal sculpture in Mike's image next to the Aspen Street Coffee House in Fruita.

It's a story even Barnum, Bailey and Ripley would be impressed by: A rooster living in 1945 in Fruita loses his head to farmer Lloyd Olsen's ax. But to the man's twisted wonder, the animal was still alive, and would continue to live for 18 more months without the crucial appendage. Now the legacy of the decapitated chicken, later christened Mike, lives on in Fruita's annual celebration of Mike's will to live, the Mike The Headless Chicken Festival.

Self-described "weird historian" Marc Hartzman spoke to Colorado Matters about the origins of the bizarre festival. Back in the day, people would line up to pay 25 cents to see Mike. While you can't see the decapitated chicken at the Fruita festival, you can do everything from run a 5K and compete in a disc golf tourney to stuff yourself with wings and peeps and play chicken poop bingo.