Bay Staters are among the thousands set to flock to Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A, a bid to boost the business after Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino gave the chain the cold shoulder last month for its CEO’s anti-gay marriage stance.

“I’m absolutely attending! I think it is ridiculous the backlash they are getting. Last time I checked, people go to purchase chicken sandwiches — excellent sandwiches at that — not for affirmation on their life choices,” said Wilmington mom Jennifer Erickson, who is heading to the Burlington Mall location with her 5-year-old son for today’s event.

The flap over Chick-fil-A began last month when Menino sent CEO Dan Cathy a letter urging him to “back out” of a plan to add a location near Faneuil Hall, though the company said it doesn’t discriminate in serving or hiring. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, calling Menino and other mayors “wannabe tyrants” over their threats, organized the Facebook event, and yesterday more than 541,000 users indicated they will attend.

“We are taking a stand for businesses to be free of economic bullying and hate speech,” Huckabee said in a statement to the Herald.

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