Tyler Hartz, a firefighter of 16 years and a Wilson Chicken Fry veteran, looked at the line of people wrapped around Stilson parking lot in astonishment. “I’ve never seen the line this long before,” he said. “And this is probably my 12th or 13th chicken fry.”

The Jackson Hole community showed up in droves to support the Wilson Volunteer Fire Department, which had to cancel its annual Chicken Fry fundraiser last year due to the pandemic. This year Wilson firefighters fried a total of 3,500 pounds of chicken (500 more pounds than the previous fry) and prepared 1,200 pounds of potatoes in the hot sun for hundreds of enthusiastic people.

The large crowd both warmed and excited the hearts of the firefighters. “It’s finally starting to feel like a Wilson summer again,” Hartz said.

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