Wingfest attracts people from all over the world, does not disappoint


Andrew Kuczkowski/The Record

Every year, people flock down to Coca-Cola Field to get a taste of the variety of wings, such as the peanut butter and jelly wings from Abigail’s Restaurant in Waterloo, NY.

Andrew Kuczkowski, Reporter

The 14th annual Buffalo Wingfest has come and gone this past weekend, attracting people national and worldwide to come downtown to Coca-Cola Field.

“For me, this is the single most important event in Buffalo and I am going to tell you why,” emcee of Wingfest, Dennis ‘Quiz Master’ George said. “I just made an announcement [on stage], all 50 states are represented. They all come here from every state and 41 countries including the farthest, Canberra, Australia.”

“This is a global event. Drew Cerza, the Wing King, has done a marvelous job marketing Buffalo and the chicken wing. 70 to 80,000 people here for two days. That’s unbelievable. It is a great event.”

Wingfest was not always this big, but grew into an important cog in the growing city of Buffalo.

“Well look at how many people are here,” Buffalo State alum and brewer of Flying Bison, Tim Herzog said. “This is pretty important to Buffalo. Eight years ago, everybody kind of laughed at [Wingfest, saying] ‘Oh yeah, Wingfest. Big deal.’ Look at this!”

“There’s a pub here from London (Randy’s Wing Bar) cooking wings. There’s a restaurant here from Arizona (Booty’s Wings, Burgers & Beer) doing wings because they want to bring that trophy back home.”

The event had 28 food vendors serving everybody from the infield dirt to the outfield grass at the ballpark. Chicken wings are not the sole focus of the festival. Craft beers are huge in Buffalo, so why not combine the two?

“Food and beer is a lot of fun to do,” Herzog said. “You can do deserts with beers and people don’t think that way. There’s a lot of things that can be combined. You could bake with beer. You could cook with beer and you could serve beer with what you’re eating.”

Fighting the possibilities of heat stroke and dehydration, guests still enjoyed Wingfest and its plethora of events. Wingfest hosts competitive eating competitions, bobbing for wings (in bleu cheese), Miss Wing and Little Miss Wing competitions.

“They got entertainment going on all the time,” George said. “Whether it be a gameshow or whether it be the fantastic band, the ‘Heavenly Chillbillies.’ There is the college bowl chicken wing eating contest and they got tremendous national eaters like Joey Chestnut, who won the Buffet Bowl [and the National Buffalo Wing Eating Competition].”

After buying food tickets, you could try any of the hundreds of wings available. Now caution, that does not mean to try the hottest of the hot wings.

Mo Miller of Warsaw, NY said that this year was the first year she has attended Wingfest and it will not be her last.

“It’s my first time here,” Miller said, “it’s great! It’s pretty cool and orderly. It is safe and fun and has a lot going on.”

Miller learned the hard way when it comes to the hot wings.

“The cursed wings over at Scallywags [Grub & Spirits] were really hot,” Miller said. “I started to cry. They tried to tell everybody not to eat them, but I’m an old chicken wing girl from way back when. They were just a little too hot.”

Wingfest only compliments Buffalo’s great aspects. Besides a little bit of sunburn at the end of the day, great wings, a large amount of assorted beers and a good time, how else would Buffalo do it?

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