Dozens seek free chicken outside new Southington Chick-fil-A

Campers set themselves up outside of a new Chick-fil-A restaurant in Southington in hopes of getting free meals for a year. (WFSB)

Dozens of people lined up outside of Chick-fil-A's latest franchise in Southington on Wednesday hoping to score a year's worth of free chicken.

The fast food chain's newest addition on Queen Street officially opens on Thursday, but it said its celebration began on Wednesday morning.

In the midst of Wednesday's sub-freezing temperatures, people put up tents, air mattresses and had a lot of blankets.

They said it was all in "good fun."

“My wife said, that’s great because then I’ll be able to go on date nights more frequently," said Bill Manka of Southington.

Manka said he was the first person in line. He arrived around 4 a.m.

It also wasn't the first time he's camped out for a shot at some free Chick-fil-A.

“This was a hard one because I knew it was going to be cold, and I didn’t know how cold it would get, until the sun actually goes down [Wednesday night,]" Manka said.

While Manka appeared to be prepared, a few other people in line admitted they weren't.

“We went home, borrowed a tent, put on five pairs of pants," said Stevie Centurelli of Plainville.

Chick-fil-A said it has been putting on these types of promotions since 2003.

“It is a bonding experience," said Holly Peterson of Burlington. "You only live once so might as well do it!”

Peterson said she had the day off and sad "yes" when her friend, Leah Schatz, asked if she wanted to tag along.

“I’ve been waiting for a Chick-fil-A to be in our zip code, so that we can join the camp out party fun," Schatz said. “Somehow Chick-fil-A has mastered training employees and people to just always be friendly and kind. The food is great, but the people are better.”

In addition to providing a chance for 100 camping out adults to receive the free meals, it also held a book drive for the Southington YMCA.

Chick-fil-A said it created 120 jobs at its new Southington location.

As for the 100 winners, the drawing will be random and the contestants must have "camped out" in order to secure a spot in the contest. They also must live within a certain zip code. Check eligibility here.

The prize consists of 52 meals with a chicken sandwich, medium waffle fries and a medium beverage.

Over the past few years, Chick-fil-A opened a number of Connecticut restaurants.

They're located in Brookfield, Danbury, Enfield, Uncasville, North Haven, Norwalk, Wallingford and West Hartford.

Copyright 2018 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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