A total of 114 Chick-fil-A enthusiasts lined up first thing Wednesday morning at the new Chick-fil-A on Prince Street to participate in the franchise’s tradition of giving away free Chick-fil-A meals for a year to 100 adults who camp out the night before a new restaurant’s grand opening.
Campers traveled from Minnesota, Florida, Oklahoma, as well as many from around the local area to participate in the West Conway Chick-fil-A “First 100” event.
After 10 years and more than $21.5 million in free food given away, Chick-fil-A’s “First 100” celebration continues to be the chain’s signature grand opening event, which transforms the restaurant parking lot into a 24-hour community friendly party as the crowd awaits the opening.
Participants pitched tents, canopies and hammocks. They inflated air mattresses, unrolled sleeping bags and rolled in cots. Some brought Frisbees, volleyballs and board games. Others had extension cords running from their parking square to outlets in the restaurant, all in an effort to keep themselves entertained, cool and comfortable for 24 hours.
Participants and alternates are limited to five guests who can join them in their 24-hour camp out. The rules say “participants, alternates and guests must remain in their designated spot on the premises until the Grand Opening of the Restaurant. (Exceptions are made for short restroom breaks and/or to comply with any applicable legal requirement.)”
Event organizers have a day full of games and activities planned, and campers will get to show off their dance moves when a DJ arrives at about 7 p.m. In addition to the $30,000 awarded in prizes, Chick-fil-A also feeds participants breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Those who make it the full 24 hours will receive their prizes when the restaurant celebrates its grand opening Thursday morning at 6.
With more than 100 people coming out for the event, the 100 spots were determined in a raffle-style drawing at 6 a.m. Ten of the remaining 14 people were selected as alternates who could win the grand prize if one of the first 100 does not make it through the 24-hour camping period. Others were guests of those selected to participate.
First 100 winners receive a digital offer card loaded with 52 free Chick-fil-A Sandwich Meals, an approximate retail value of $250. Chick-fil-A Sandwich Meals consist of a Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich, medium Waffle Potato Fries and a medium drink.
Up to 10 alternate prizes consisting of a gift pack determined by the sponsor restaurant, containing items such as a plush cow, mug, book or four free Chick-fil-A food coupons, are awarded depending on the number of alternates remaining at the end of the giveaway period.
The new West Conway restaurant features the chain’s latest interior design and seats 139 with additional outdoor seating for about 40. Two drive-thru ordering lanes that merge into a single lane for pickup will enhance the chain’s award-winning drive-thru service. The restaurant, which also includes an interactive playground for children, is open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., serving a full breakfast menu until 10:30 a.m. When Conway High School has a home football game, the restaurant will stay open until 11 p.m.