Pig races, BMX and more: Celebrate America at Michigan's largest free festival

- Families can spend some holiday weekend fun at the 10th annual Stars & Stripes Festival in Sterling Heights.

Between Thursday and Sunday, Michigan's largest free festival will draw hundreds of thousands with fun activities and attractions.

Big names headlining the free concerts include Styx with opener Led Zeppelin 2 on Friday, Metro Detroit's own Uncle Kracker and opening act Josh Gracin on Saturday, and alternative rock trio Seether and opener The Winery Dogs on Sunday.

BMX stunt shows, monster truck rides, petting zoos, a carnival midway, a white tiger exhibit, pig races and more -- the event has something for everyone.

About 100 regional and local artists will perform on three different stages throughout the event.

On Sunday night, Macomb County's largest firework display will close out the festival.

Recipe: Spicy chicken sandwich

8 boneless/skinless chicken thighs
1 head of garlic cut in half
4 dried arbol chiles
1 bushel of dill
1 ounce of kosher salt
2 cups of water
1 cup of white distilled vinegar
1 quart of buttermilk
2 quarts of AP flour
2 quarts of neutral cooking oil (vegetable/sunflower)
1 cup of mayonnaise
1 cup of garlic dill pickle rounds, sliced thin
1 bottle of your favorite hot sauce
4 potato buns

Instructions

1. Combine the garlic, chilies, dill, salt, water and vinegar in a heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil.
2. Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl. Once the brine in the pot comes to a boil, give it a stir and pour over the chicken thighs.
3. Stir the chicken thighs in the brine and allow to cool in your fridge overnight.
4. The next day, strain out the chicken thighs and discard the brine.
5. Then pour the buttermilk over the chicken and mix so it coats everything and let stand for 1 hr. 
6. Place the oil in a heavy bottomed skillet, preferably a cast iron one and bring to a medium high heat, about 350 F if you have a thermometer. 
7. Drain the buttermilk off the thighs and coat them with the AP flour, mixing thoroughly.
8. Shake off excess flour and cook in batches in the skillet, being careful to not over crowd the pan. You should end up cooking the thighs for about 4 minutes, then flip them and cook for an additional 4 minutes until golden brown and cooked all the way through.
9. Lift them out of the skillet using thongs or a slotted spoon and place on paper towel to allow to drain.
10. Once they are drained, place the thighs in a bowl and shake the hot sauce over them and toss so the thighs are coated in hot sauce.
11. Cut and toast your buns, putting a small amount of mayo on each side.
12. Then place the sliced pickles on the bottom bun, the chicken thighs on top of that and finish with the top part of the bun. Enjoy!

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