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About 100 pounds of fried chicken is part of this family’s Indy 500 tradition |

About 100 pounds of fried chicken is part of this family’s Indy 500 tradition





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If you meet the Stephenson family during Indianapolis 500 race weekend, you’ll see them snacking on Aunt Diane’s Fried Chicken.

Yes, that’s the official name of the recipe. Diane Stephenson-Moore fries up about 100 pounds of the bird — with crispy, golden skin and a peppery kick — in iron skillets in two batches.

One is for about 50 people who gather with the Stephenson tribe at the IPL 500 Festival Parade. Then after the festivities, she cooks from 11 p.m. until 2 a.m. so more is fresh for 32 friends and family members on race day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Aunt Diane’s Fried Chicken is one of the mainstays that has come out of the Stephenson family’s 46-year-old tradition of attending the parade and Indy 500. The yearly pilgrimage started when Stephenson-Moore and her brothers — Dennis, Danny, Dave and Donny Stephenson — attended the race with their parents, Dennis Stephenson said.

What started modestly turned into a major annual event for the Stephenson family and their friends. So many began coming that they added a police escort about 20 years ago, Stephenson said.

Over the years, family members have moved to different parts of the country, and some have died. But the race weekend tradition remains — everyone who can make it, does.

“I think it had to do with Jim Nabors singing ‘(Back Home Again in) Indiana,’ you know, it just became a big tradition then,” said Stephenson, as the family and friends chatted Saturday on a bright day where the sun had originally seemed reluctant to slip out from behind the clouds. 

“If you were away from Indiana, you wanted to get back home. And so the race was that weekend to do that. It became a social event for us and just great family time.”

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