National Buffalo Wing Festival Celebrates 20 Years

Buffalo, NY –  The National Buffalo Wing Festival, America’s premier celebration of Buffalo’s signature culinary creation, announced that it will celebrate its 20th anniversary this Labor Day Weekend (Sept. 3 and 4) at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, the “Home of the Buffalo Bills”.

Since its founding in 2002, Wingfest has evolved into one of the country’s top food festivals, drawing more than 1 million attendees from all 50 states, 41 different counties and every continent (even Antarctica). The festival helped establish Buffalo as the World Capital of Wings and gave the city a reason to celebrate its signature food like it never had before.

“We want this year’s Wingfest a party to remember,” Cerza said. “We survived Covid and have found a new home. Whether you visit us every year or haven’t been in a decade, this is the year to come back, reconnect with old friends over a cold beer and feast on your favorite food, complete with ample helpings of wing sauce and blue cheese.”

Wingfest has come a long way since Cerza started the first festival in Dunn Tire Park in downtown Buffalo in 2002. Cerza began Wingfest and changed the course of food history after reading a newspaper column that questioned why Buffalo had no annual celebration of its signature food. Foodies and wing fans in those 20 years have consumed more than 5 million wings served from 161 participating restaurants from as far away as Australia. The festival has also raised $420,000 during that time for charities such as Feedmore WNY.

Wingfest 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, The CBS Morning Show, BBC, Fox and Friends and even a PBS documentary.  And in 2021, Wingfest moved to a new home: Highmark Stadium, the home of the Buffalo Bills, a much larger venue that will prime the festival for continued growth for years to come.

2015 National Buffalo Wing Festival a Success

BUFFALO (September 2015) – More than 70,000 people from all 50 states and 64 countries attended the National Buffalo Wing Festival at Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo, New York Sept. 5-6.

The festival, which celebrates Buffalo’s quintessential foodstuff, served-up more than 25 tons of wings from more than 30 local, regional, national and international eateries who created more than 120 varieties of wings.

“This was the 14th year for the festival and one that drew a considerable amount of international interest,” Drew Cerza, festival founder, said. “A couple traveled 9,839 miles from Sydney, Australia to attend. Additionally, this was the first year we welcomed an international restaurant serving wings – Randy’s Wing Bar out of London, UK.”

National Sauce-Off

One of the highlights of the weekend for the vendors is competing in the National Sauce-Off. This year’s winners include:

  • Festival Favorite: Bonehead’s Wing Bar
  • Rookie of the Year: Greene’s Ale House
  • Most Creative Sauce: (1) Buffalo Wild Wings, (2) Bonehead’s Wing Bar, (3) Quaker Steak & Lube.
  • Best Hot Sauce: (1) Legend Larry’s, (2) Booty’s Wings Burgers & Beers, (3) Slider’s Grill & Bar.
  • Best Extra Hot Sauce: (1) RuChDa Wings, (2) Duff’s Famous Wings, (3) Greene’s Ale House.
  • Best Medium Sauce: (1) Bocce Club Pizza, (2) Hot Rod Café, (3) Legend Larry’s
  • Most Creative Sweet Sauce: (1) Just Pizza & Wing Co., (2) Hard Rock Café, (3) Greene’s Ale House.
  • Best Traditional BBQ: (1) Bocce Club Pizza, (2) Brickhouse Tavern & Tap, (3) La Nova.
  • Most Creative BBQ: (1) Wing Street, (2) Quaker Steak & Lube, (3) Scallywags Grub & Spirits.

Craft Wings

New this year, organizers weaved a “craft” concept throughout the entire weekend’s activities. This meant that festivalgoers enjoyed everything from cold craft beers to craft cocktail demonstrations. Additionally, many of the wing vendors developed unique craft wings and some competed in this new category at the Wing Fest.

First-place winner of the “Best Craft Wing” contest was (716) Wings, which created a wing called “Chicken on Weck.” Second place went to Booty’s Wings Burgers & Beers for their “Et Tu Brut.” And, Duff’s Famous Wings came in third with their ultra-unique “Caramel Crunch” wing.

Competitive Eating

One of the annual highlights of the festival weekend was the United States Chicken Wing Eating Championshippresented by the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eating.

After a major upset at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest (for which he won 2007-2014), Joey “Jaws” Chestnut came back to Buffalo to defend his title as first place winner of the U.S. Chicken Wing Eating Championship. He was up against relative newcomer Miki Sudo who came to reclaim her 2013 title, which was her first-ever wing-eating event. National favorite and five-time Wingfest World Champion Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas was also be on hand to battle the field.

After 12 minutes of action-packed pro eating, the winners included:

  • First place: Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, 205 wings
  • Second place: Miki Sudo, 170 wings in 12 minutes
  • Third place: Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas, 157 wings

SPONSORS

The festival was made possible thanks to Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, Frank’s RedHot, BlueCross BlueShield, Tri-Fri Oil, RuChDa Wings, Marie’s Blue Cheese Dressings and Yuengling Beer.

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Restaurant Profile: Randy’s Wing Bar (London, UK)

We caught up with #WingFest15 Restaurant Participant Randy’s Wing Bar to discuss the upcoming National Buffalo Wing Festival. Randy’s is coming to Buffalo, NY from London, UK and is our FIRST international competitor! Here’s what they had to say!


#1. What makes your wings unique?

Our wings are unique because they’re made with English flare and sophistication. We’ve learn’t a lot about wings from our American brothers, and built on these foundations by adding our own personal touches and popular British ingredients.

#2. What food is London best known for?

To those who have never travelled to London, the city is probably thought to be full of fish and chips, bangers and mash and roast dinners! Those that have been will know London is a cultural melting pot of so many different cuisines, which after Tokyo and Paris, has the most Michelin Stars awarded to its restaurants in the world. Although BBQ food is nowhere near as developed as it is in the States, there are now some great BBQ joints and many have fused types of cooking from other parts of the world with their BBQ, such as Morocco, South Africa and Portugal.

#3. What is your favorite Wing flavor?

At Randy’s we love Buffalo, however after our recent time spent in Buffalo, pitt grilled BBQ is now up there as one of the best!

#4. What drink pairs best with your wings?

Like here in Buffalo, there is a big craft beer movement going on in the UK and London. Frontier Lager and FourPure IPA are two local craft London beers that go particularly well with our wings.

#5. What’s the most unique wing flavor you’re bringing to #WingFest15?

We’re serving our signature smokey Buffalo sauce this year which is a traditional Buffalo, beefed up with Coleman’s English Mustard and a serious amount of smoking!

NOM NOM NOM – Competitive Eating!

One of the annual highlights at the National Buffalo Wing Festival is the United States Chicken Wing Eating Championship presented by the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino. This wildly popular event, sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eating, happens Sept. 6 at 5pm.

This year, the competition takes on epic proportions as top-ranked competitive eater Joey Chestnut returns to defend his title. Last year, Chestnut devoured 183 wings in 12 minutes to take the title. Relative newcomer Miki Sudo will attempt to reclaim her 2013 title, which was her first-ever wing-eating event. Crowd favorite and five-time Wingfest World Champion Sonya Thomas will be on hand to battle the field.

In addition to the U.S. Chicken Wing Eating Championship, the pros compete in the Buffalo Buffet Bowl competition on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 6pm. The battle challenges eaters to consume five pounds of some of Buffalo’s favorite foods including pizza and roast beef on weck.

Not a pro competitive food eater? That’s okay. We’ve got something for you. Check out the Amateur Chicken Wing Eating Contest on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 4:30pm. Here, the wanna-be-pros can get some serious stomach crunching practice toward the big leagues.

If you’e a spice-aholic, well, we’ve got an event for you. The Hot Wing Eating Contest on Sunday, Sept. 6 at 4pm pits amateur competitors against one another to see who can eat the most wings that have been doused in a ridiculously hot wing sauce.

Other wing-eating competitions during the festival include the College Wing Eating Competition happening Sunday, Sept. 6 at 2:30pm.

2015 Wingfest Gets Crafty During Labor Day Weekend

logo_main-bigBUFFALO (Aug. 26, 2015) –The National Buffalo Wing Festival, one of the country’s most beloved food festivals, returns to Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo, New York Sept. 5-6.

Now in its 14th year, the festival, which attracted 70,000+ attendees from all 50 states and 34 different countries last year, will feature more than 30 local, regional, national and international eateries serving more than 120 styles of chicken wings.

In addition to the food frenzy, festivalgoers can enjoy a weekend packed with activities ranging from competitive wing eating contests, amateur cook-offs, pageants, music, children’s entertainment and even the ever-popular “Bobbing for Wings competition.

Admission is $5. Children eight years and younger are free. The festival benefits Alzheimer’s Association Western New York Chapter, Food Bank of WNY and Meals on Wheels for Western New York Inc. The festival has raised more than $295,000 since its inception in 2002.

NEW IN 2015
The 2015 National Buffalo Wing Festival is expected to be especially popular, as event organizers are weaving a “craft” concept throughout the weekend’s activities. This means festivalgoers can enjoy everything from a cold craft beer and craft cocktail demonstrations, to several unique wing flavors and offerings.

“Everybody knows there are two traditional kinds of wings: buffalo and barbecue. But, we often forget that there’s a whole other category of specialty wings that might include everything from those with a peanut butter & jelly sauce to ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ featuring maple syrup and bacon. We’re coining this category ‘craft’ and pairing them up with craft beers created by local brewers,” Drew Cerza, festival founder, said.

The centerpiece to this new craft-centric concept will be the first-ever Craft Wing Showcase in which guests can watch and learn as chefs demonstrate the creation of their unique craft wings, while local brewers pair each wing creation with a signature craft beer. The showcase happens Sept. 5 from 1-8pm and Sept. 6 from 1-6pm.

In addition, local craft brewers including Resurgence Brewing Co., Big Ditch Brewing Company, Flying Bison Brewing Company and Community Beer Works are teaming up for the Consumer’s Beverages Craft Beer Corner where they’ll be pouring more than 15 different styles of beer all weekend. Better yet, brewery representatives will be on hand to talk about craft beer and wing pairings.

Festivalgoers can also learn about the craft cocktail craze from local bartenders and mixologists who will be preparing, serving and sharing information on their favorite craft cocktails inside the Premier Gourmet Pavilion. Included will be local chefs preparing craft wings. Some of the participating restaurants, chefs and bars include Osteria 166, Ballyhoo, Vera Pizzeria, The Black Iron Bystro, Chef Marco Scorintino from Marco’s, Krista Van Wagner from Krista’s Kitchen and Chef William Cornelius from Chef William Creations.

THE WINGS
“The lineup of restaurants this year is stronger than ever including some new additions from the Northeast,” said Cerza. “It always amazes me how many really good wing joints there are in the U.S. We’re proud to bring them to Buffalo, so they can show their stuff.”

For a full line-up of participating eateries, visit BuffaloWing.com/Restaurants.

One addition for this year is Buffalo’s first and most popular food truck Lloyd’s Taco Truck. The mobile eatery will be on hand debuting its “Chicken Wing Taco”.

Many restaurants will compete in the annual National Sauce-Off Competition for bragging rights to the best wing sauces in America. The competition includes eight different categories of wing styles. New this year, restaurants are challenged to come up with a unique, out-of-the-box creative “craft” wing, as well.

COMPETITIVE EATING
One of the annual highlights of the festival weekend is the United States Chicken Wing Eating Championship presented by the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino. This wildly popular event, sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eating, happens Sept. 6 at 5pm.

This year, the competition takes on epic proportions as top-ranked competitive eater Joey Chestnut returns to defend his title. Last year, Chestnut devoured 183 wings in 12 minutes to take the title. Relative newcomer Miki Sudo will attempt to reclaim her 2013 title, which was her first-ever wing-eating event. Crowd favorite and five-time Wingfest World Champion Sonya Thomas will be on hand to battle the field.

In addition to the U.S. Chicken Wing Eating Championship, the pros compete in the Buffalo Buffet Bowl competition on Saturday, September 5th at 6pm. The battle challenges eaters to consume five pounds of some of Buffalo’s favorite foods including pizza and roast beef on weck.

Other wing-eating competitions during the festival include the Hot Wing Eating Contest, Amateur Chicken Wing Eating Contest and the College Wing Eating Competition.

OTHER ACTIVITIES
The competitions aren’t just limited to the professionals at Wingfest, as the festival features several amateur cook-offs including the Amateur Traditional Sauce Contest, Amateur Creative Sauce Contest and the BlueCross BlueShield Healthy Changes Every Wing contest.

In addition, the festival will present a collection of pageants including the Miss Buffalo Wing Pageant (women 18+ years), the Baby Wing Contest (children 0-4 years) and, new this year, the Little Miss Wing Pageant (girls 6-12 years).

Festivalgoers can compete in (or watch) the famous Bobbing for Wings competition in which participants dunk their heads into kiddie pools filled with blue cheese dressing to retrieve as many of the 100 chicken wings as possible within three minutes using only their mouths.

Ed Currie, founder of the Puckerbutt Pepper Company, will bring heat to the festival with his famous Carolina Reaper Peppers, which have been designated by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “Hottest Pepper in America.”

This year’s entertainment lineup includes master of ceremonies “Quiz Master” Dennis George, as well as one of Buffalo’s favorite blues bands, The Heavenly Chillbillies who’ll liven up the festival with blues music throughout the weekend. For children, the always-popular Kid Zone will be running throughout the festival.

SPONSORS
The festival is made possible thanks to Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, Frank’s RedHot, BlueCross BlueShield, Tri-Fri Oil, RuChDa Wings, Marie’s Blue Cheese Dressings and Yuengling Beer.

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MORE INFORMATION: To learn more, visit BuffaloWing.com or follow along at www.facebook.com/BuffaloWingFestival, @WingFest and by using the hashtag #WingFest15.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Drew Cerza, Festival Founder, wingking@buffalowing.com

2015 National Buffalo Wing Festival – MEDIA FACT SHEET

Where: Coca-Cola Field (275 Washington Street, Buffalo, 14202)
When: Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 (12-9pm) and Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015 (12-7pm)
Price: Admission is $5. Children under 8 are free.
More Info: www.BuffaloWing.com

Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015
12:30PM   Dennis George – QuizMaster
1:00PM   Heavenly Chillbillies Band
1:30PM   Amateur Creative Sauce-Off
2:00PM   Amateur Traditional Sauce-Off
2:30PM   Heavenly Chillbillies Band
3:00PM   Healthy Zone Recipe Challenge
3:30PM   Heavenly Chillbillies Band
4:00PM   Bobbing for Wings
4:30PM   Amateur Wing Eating Champ.
5:00PM   Heavenly Chillbillies Band
5:30PM   Restaurant Awards Ceremony
6:00PM   Buffalo Buffet Bowl
7:00PM   Heavenly Chillbillies Band
8:00PM   Dennis George – QuizMaster
9:00PM   Closing Ceremonies

Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015
12:00PM   Little Miss Wing Contest
12:45PM   Baby Wing Competition
1:15PM   Dennis George – QuizMaster
1:30PM   Miss Buffalo Wing Pageant
2:00PM   Heavenly Chillbillies Band
2:30PM   College Wing Eating Comp.
3:00PM   Bobbing for Wings
3:30PM   Heavenly Chillbillies Band
4:00PM   Hot Wing Eating Contest
5:00PM   United States Chicken Wing Eating Championship
5:45PM   Dennis George – QuizMaster
6:00PM   Heavenly Chilbillies Band
7:00PM   Closing Ceremonies

About the National Buffalo Wing Festival:
The National Buffalo Wing Festival returns to Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo, New York Sept. 5-6, 2015. Now in its 14th year, the festival, which attracts 70,000+ attendees from all 50 states and 34 different countries, features more than 30 local, regional, national and international eateries serving more than 120 styles of chicken wings. Other activities include live music, children’s activities, best wing sauce competition, bobbing for wings, Miss Buffalo Wing pageant, amateur chicken wing eating contests and the United States Buffalo Wing Eating Championship.

Hot Sponsors:

  • BlueCross BlueShield
  • Frank’s Red
  • Hot Seneca
  • Buffalo Creek Casino
  • Tri-Fri Oil

Event Sponsors:

  • Cupcake Vineyards
  • Marie’s Blue Cheese Dressings
  • Sailor Jerry Rum
  • Yuengling

Wing & Food Vendors:

  • 716 Food and Sport
  • Anchor Bar
  • Bocce
  • Boneheads
  • Booty’s
  • Brickhouse Tavern & Tap
  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Chrusciki Bakery
  • Danny’s South
  • Duffs Famous Wings
  • Falletta’s Restaurant
  • Greene’s Ale House
  • Hard Rock Cafe
  • Hot Rod Café
  • Just Pizza & Wing Co.
  • LaNova
  • Legend Larry’s
  • Lloyd’s Taco’s
  • Perry’s Ice Cream
  • Pop-in-Bob
  • Pucker Butt Pepper Co.
  • Quaker Steak and Lube
  • Randy’s Wing Bar RuChDa Wings
  • Scallywags Grub & Spirits
  • Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino
  • Sliders Grill & Bar
  • The Healthy Zone-Blue Cross
  • WingStreet

Sample Craft Wing Offerings:

  • Honey, Maple Madness
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • Eh Tu Brut
  • Kashmiri/Devil’s Blood
  • Carmel Crunch
  • Big Ditch BBQ
  • Ole’ Mole
  • Drunken Sombrero
  • KimChi Wing
  • Beach Bum Rum
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly

Competitive Food Eating:

  • U.S. Chicken Wing Eating Championship
  • Buffalo Buffet Bowl Eating Contest
  • Amateur Wing Eating Championship
  • Hot Wing Eating Championship
  • College Wing Eating Competition

Amateur Cook-Offs:

  • Amateur Creative Sauce-Off
  • Amateur Traditional Sauce-Off
  • Healthy Changes Every Wing

Pageants:

  • Baby Wing Contest
  • Little Miss Wing Pageant
  • Miss Buffalo Wing Pageant

Other Signature Events:

  • Bobbing for Wings
  • National Restaurant Sauce-Off Competition

Premier Center Craft Wing and Cocktail Pavilion:
Featuring local craft cocktail bartenders and local chefs demonstrating and sampling unique cocktails and wings. Mixologists and chefs:

  • Osteria 166
  • Krista Van Wagner, Krista’s Kitchen
  • Vera Pizzeria
  • Chef William Cornelius, Chef William Creations
  • Ballyhoo
  • Chef Marco Scorintino, Marco’s
  • The Black Iron Bystro
  • Ed Currie, PuckerButt Pepper Co.

Consumer’s Craft Beer Pavilion:

  • Resurgence Brewing Company
  • Big Ditch Brewing Company
  • Flying Bison Brewing Company
  • Community Beer Works

Live Music and Entertainment Offerings:

  • Heavenly Chillbillies Blues Band
  • Dennis George – QuizMaster

Children’s Entertainment:
For kids, the festival features activities with arts, crafts and other family-friendly live entertainment. Other children’s activities include:

  • Acclaimed QuizMaster Dennis George puts on trivia and Family Feud-style shows
  • Dennis Regling, considered one of the nation’s best strolling balloon artists

Philanthropy:
Over the past 13 years, the National Buffalo Wing Festival has raised more than $295,000 for local charities. The festival will again give back to the community with this year’s beneficiaries including Alzheimer’s Association Western New York Chapter, Food Bank of WNY and Meals on Wheels for Western New York Inc.

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MORE INFORMATION:
To learn more, visit BuffaloWing.com or follow along at www.facebook.com/BuffaloWingFestival, @WingFest and by using the hashtag #WingFest15.

Chicken wing contest pits men, women champions at same table | The Buffalo News

BUFFALO (Aug. 17, 2015) — As usual, some major-league eating will be on the menu when the National Buffalo Wing Festival kicks off Labor Day weekend at Coca-Cola Field.

In the main event – a 12-minute “all-you-can-eat” chicken wing contest set for 5 p.m. Sept. 6 – reigning champion Joey Chestnut will defend his title against two top female competitors, Miki Sudo and Sonya “the Black Widow” Thomas…

To read more, visit http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/chicken-wing-contest-pits-men-women-champions-at-same-table-20150817.

Chicken wing contest pits men, women champions at same table | The Buffalo News

BUFFALO (Aug. 17, 2015) — As usual, some major-league eating will be on the menu when the National Buffalo Wing Festival kicks off Labor Day weekend at Coca-Cola Field.
In the main event – a 12-minute “all-you-can-eat” chicken wing contest set for 5 p.m. Sept. 6 – reigning champion Joey Chestnut will defend his title against two top female competitors, Miki Sudo and Sonya “the Black Widow” Thomas…
To read more, visit http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/chicken-wing-contest-pits-men-women-champions-at-same-table-20150817.