National Buffalo Wing Festival roars this weekend
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • August 29, 2013 @ 7:29am
The National Buffalo Wing Festival has become far more than an event that celebrates Buffalo’s prized chicken wings.
Unless you’ve accumulated a staggering amount of frequent flyer miles, it will probably be difficult for you to visit Booty’s from Surprise, Ariz.; Fire on the Mountain from Portland, Ore.; and RuChDa Wings from Atlanta, Ga. That’s why we’re thankful that the National Buffalo Wing Festival is in our own backyard.
The National Buffalo Wing Festival runs from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday at Coca-Cola Field, at the corner of Washington and Swan streets in downtown Buffalo.
General admission tickets run for $5 (children under 8 are free) and, for the first time, can be purchased on-site with a credit card. +1 for plastic! Thirty-two restaurants—only five of which come from the Buffalo metro—will serve wings, but welcome Allentown’s Gabriel’s Gate, which joins the fray for the first time.
In addition to demolishing wings with sauces and preparation techniques from across the country—and internationally for the first time, as Real Sports Bar & Grill makes the jaunt from Toronto—National Buffalo Wing Festival patrons can relish many of the local staples that have solidified Buffalo as not only the creator, but also the go-to destination for wings worldwide.
**As we wrote on Aug. 11, another staple of Buffalo’s identity has been added to the festivities—Labatt Blue has joined efforts with Cerza to offer a two-vs.-two ice hockey tournament in a parking lot adjacent to the festival.
The synthetic ice—a fairly cutting-edge product of Blasdell-based Pace Landscaping—will serve as the foundation for the eight-team tournament.
**One of the most appealing features of the Buffalo Wing Festival—awe-inducing for some, a little gluttonous for others—is the chicken wing eating contest that boasts two of the world’s most prolific competitive eaters: Joey Chestnut and Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas. Last year—despite a late arrival—Chestnut dethroned the five-time champ Thomas by inhaling a world-record 183 wings.
Not all has gone swimmingly for Chestnut lately, however, as the competitive eating icon was dethroned at the World Gyoza Eating Championships by a 120-pound, 19-year-old from Chestnut’s hometown.
If there’s anything that’ll rile up the world’s ballyhooed hot-dog eating king, it’s probably the bitter (and oddly savory!) taste of potsticker defeat.
**As a reminder, food tickets are $1 each and can be purchased at various clearly-marked locations at Coca-Cola Field. Jumbo wings run for one food ticket, while other prices vary.
Chrusciki Bakery, Costanzo’s Bakery, Perry’s Ice Cream and Yancey’s Fancy are among the other local vendors with a station. Visit here for the full list of participants.
(Photos courtesy of Kat Przybyla and Ben Tsujimoto).