This article was written by Luci Garner.
Candles, bottle rockets and KFC lovers gathered together on Feb. 2 in honor of the late KFC. KFC had been closed for repairs after a grease fire last September, but now has no plans to reopen the franchise in Rexburg.
Families, past customers and Rexburg natives sang in remembrance of Colonel Sander’s masterpiece.
Randy Ball, a Rexburg local, created the event on Facebook. He brought an amplifier and recruited a local band who composed and performed their own song dedicated to the famous Kentucky Fried Chicken. Other songs like, “Burn” by Johnny Cash, “Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band and the infamous “Taps” by Daniel Butterfield filled the KFC parking lot to build satire and emotion for the night.
“It’s probably the largest KFC vigil in the history of the world,” Ball said. “It’s a sad occasion because I’m sure my whole family, my church and probably the whole nation feels the same as me about it. I hope we get a Popeyes because we still need chicken in this town.”
Ball and his friends came prepared, fully equipped with bottle rockets to enhance the experience for all chicken connoisseurs. This is the first time Ball has ever held an event like this. His friends gave him the idea and he decided to execute it.
“Colonel Sanders is like Santa, you just trust him and he makes you happy,” Ball said.
Ben Sleight, a senior at Madison and a band member of Civilian Casualties, composed the tribute to KFC.
“Hearing about the fire hit me pretty hard, so I just put my feelings on paper to really convey my feelings,” Sleight said. “The whole establishment gave me life.”
Taylor Halkar, a senior at Madison High School, makes up the other half of Civilian Casualties, who paid respects by performing their original song.
The band has performed songs for other vigils and does not make light of the matter. Being performers in Idaho Falls, the two KFC lovers do what they can to balance their senior year of high school, their band gigs and extracurricular vigils.
The fast–food chain will not return to Rexburg at the same location, as the owner decided to sell the location instead. After attempts to reach out to KFC’s headquarters on the matter, they have made no comment for the time being.
Vigils are becoming more popular since a Taco Bell vigil was held in Alabama, making the YouTube video a viral hit.