The idea for the festival came from a movie called Osmosis Jones. Bill Murray starred as a compulsive eater with a goal of attending the Super Bowl of junk food, The National Buffalo Wing Festival.
Ironically, there wasn’t one.
That is when native Buffalonian Drew Cerza, now affectionately known as the Wing King decided to make it happen back in 2002. This is a case of Real Life knocking off Hollywood!
Thanks for the idea, Bill!
THE FESTIVAL HAS ALSO BECOME A GREAT TOURISM MAGNET for the Buffalo region, as wing lovers from all over America and the world make the annual pilgrimage to pay homage to the birthplace of the Buffalo Wing. On-site surveys show that attendees come from all 50 states and more than 34 different countries. The festival has had a great local economic impact.
THE NATIONAL BUFFALO WING FESTIVAL has become the “Super Bowl” of the chicken wing industry for restaurants, wing lovers and even competitive eaters. The festival has been showcased by such national media as the Food Network (All-American Festivals, Unwrapped, Throwdown with Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse Live), the Travel Channel (Bar Food Paradise, Taste of America and Food Wars), NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s The View, Regis and Kelly, The CBS Morning Show, BBC, Fox and Friends and even a PBS documentary.
Founder Drew Cerza says the NATIONAL BUFFALO WING FESTIVAL paved the way for the CHICKEN WING HALL OF FAME, which will further solidify Buffalo as the birthplace of what has become America’s most popular finger food.
The 2006 Festival saw the first inductions into the newly-announced CHICKEN WING HALL OF FAME. The Anchor Bar founders Frank and Teressa Bellissimo were the first to be inducted.
In addition, the 2006 festival also hosted its first wedding.
Drew Cerza says he is also very pleased that the festival has generated nearly $300,000 for Western New York charities.
The National Buffalo Wing Festival By the Numbers
- 407,000 people
- 2.4 Million Wings Consumed
- 137 Tons of Wings In Weight
- 191 Restaurants Participated
- $250,000 in Charitable Contributions
- 1 Wedding