Wingfest spices things up for 2013
BY: Metro Source Staff | August 21, 2013
As one of America’s favorite food festivals, The National Buffalo Wing Festival has a tradition spirited competition. Scheduled for Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 at Coca-Cola Field, this year’s festival welcomes 15 new restaurants to its ever growing roster, including another local favorite, Gabriel’s Gate, Rochester’s famous Dinosaur barbecue and Toronto’s Real Sports Bar and Grill, voted the number one sports bar in North America by ESPN. Local, regional and national eateries will be serving more 125 styles of chicken wings. The restaurants will also compete in the National Sauce-Off Competition for bragging rights to the best wing sauces in America. The competition will include seven different categories of wing styles.
Festival organizers have also announced some additional changes to this year’s wing ding including, accepting credit cards for merchandise and food ticket purchases as well as additional covered areas on the festival grounds for people to get out of the sun and enjoy their wings. A new 40- foot “Yuengling Beer Garden” and covered “Consumers Craft Beer Corner” will provide some comfort. There have been 40 tons of jumbo wings ordered from Wayne Farms for this year’s event.
This year, the United States Chicken Wing Eating Championship, an annual highlight of “Wing Fest,” takes on epic proportions as five-time World Champion Sonya Thomas attempts to reclaim her title. Thomas surrendered the much-coveted crown to 2012 Champion, Joey Chestnut. Last year, Chestnut set a world record, consuming 183 wings.
For 2013, it’s not just the wing sauce trophies at stake, it’s also the bragging rights for the first ever Labatt Wingman Hockey Tournament played on synthetic ice in Buffalo. Chicken wing lovers come from all over the world to experience the essence of Buffalo’s food heritage. “The Labatt Blue sponsored ‘ice hockey’ tournament will expose them to our sports heritage as well, plus, the synthetic ice is super cool to see in action,” said festival Founder and Clarence resident Drew Cerza, better known as the “Wing King.” “What could be better than chicken wings, hockey and summer in Buffalo?”
Competition isn’t limited to the professionals at Wingfest. There is something for everyone this year, spectators and participants alike. Choose from the “Wing Sauce-off” competitions, amateur chicken wing eating challenge, the famous “Bobbing for Wings,” also known as the “Marie’s Blue Cheese Bowl,” the Miss Buffalo Wing Pageant, and the baby wing contest, and there is also a pro football eating challenge, featuring Buffalo Bill players Eric Wood and Kraig Urbik to raise money for their favorite charities, and a “College Cup” wing-eating competition of teams from local colleges.
Also new for 2013, and keeping with the more health conscious mentality in America, Blue Cross Blue Shield is presenting a “Healthy Changes Every Wing” healthy “Buffalo Flavored” recipe contest. Many of the dishes will include Frank’s RedHot, the “official sauce” of the festival, which was the secret ingredient used to create the original Buffalo Wing sauce recipe at the Anchor Bar in 1964. Anyone interested in submitting a recipe is invited to do so on-line at www.buffalowing.com. Finalists will prepare their recipes on the main stage in the contest on Saturday.
The Wingfest will also make history by serving its first “Vegetarian Wing.” Celebrity Chef Steven Binks will have the honor of serving some of his healthy versions of traditional “Buffalo Flavor” inspired recipes like chicken wing dip and Buffalo wing mac and cheese.
This year’s entertainment lineup includes Emmy Award-Winning Comedian, Mark DeCarlo, host of the Travel Channel’s “Taste of America with Mark DeCarlo.” DeCarlo will be performing on stage with his comedy cooking series, as well as serving as Co-Master of Ceremonies with the “Quiz Master”, Dennis George. There will even be a mechanical chicken wing, which is similar to a mechanical bull, set up in an inflatable bucket of wings for people to ride. For children, the always-popular kid zone will be up and running throughout the festival.
The Heavenly Chillbillies will bring their blues music throughout the festival and will once again serve as the festival house band. A complete schedule of events and information about the 2013 National Buffalo Wing Festival can be found at www.BuffaloWing.com
“This is the most exciting lineup of restaurants and entertainment in the 11 year history of the National Buffalo Wing Festival”, says Cerza
Having raised more than $250,000 for local charities over the past decade, the 2013 National Buffalo Wing Festival will again give back to the community. This year’s beneficiaries include the Alzheimers Association, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Meals on Wheels of WNY.
Festival hours are from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Admission tickets are just $5 per day.