It's happening again, right now, this time in Granite Bay, all because of a chicken sandwich.
No, that crowd of people camped out along Douglas Boulevard isn't there to make a statement about the U.S. Supreme Court's ongoing deliberation over Proposition 8, California's ban on gay marriage. Nor is it linked to controversial statements on same-sex marriage made last year by Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy.
Instead, those folks are congregated at 4040 Douglas Blvd. waiting for Thursday's morning's grand opening of the Sacramento area's fifth Chick-fil-A, bringing the total number in California to 62.
Why? Because the first 100 adults still in line at the new restaurant at 6 a.m. tomorrow will win free Chick-fil-A sandwiches for a year.
They've been there since 6 this morning, when they all were given wristbands to prove their attendance later. But how many in the crowd will last the night to collect the grand prize? Do they have enough blankets? Food? Water? What time does the baby-sitter have to be home?
Chick-fil-A's "First 100" tradition started innocently enough - at a celebration of the first stand-alone Chick-fil-A in Arizona in 2003, and of the first 100 customers who spontaneously arrived at that store the day before it opened.
"It became the cornerstone of every Chick-fil-A grand opening since then," said a company spokesman in a statement.
In the past decade, Chick-fil-A has given away more than $18 million in free food at 700 grand openings, the statement said. An additional $2.5 million will be give away at 102 more grand openings this year throughout the country.
The year's supply of meals will be in the form of 52 coupons, each worth a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich, medium waffle fries and a medium drink, valued at around $29,000.
The Granite Bay outlet joins sister stores in Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville and Elk Grove. For more information: www.chick-fil-a.com.