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Longweekends Magazine
Spring/Summer 2011

 

 

The Super Bowl of the chicken wing industry: A Thing for Wings

 

The National Buffalo Wing Festival revolves around eating chicken wings, lots of ‘em. Over 45 tons of wings were consumed last year during the two-day festival. Restaurants that specialize in wings view this festival as the “Super Bowl” for the chicken wing industry.

 

Buffalo wings, deep-fried chicken wings smothered in hot sauce and served with celery and a side of blue cheese for dipping, had their beginnings one Friday evening back in 1964 in Buffalo, NY at Frank and Theresa Bellissimo’s Anchor Bar. Their son, Dom, arrived with a bunch of hungry friends. Theresa spotted a plate of wings destined for the soup pot. She decided to deep fry them, top them with hot sauce, and serve them to the hungry crowd. It was an overnight sensation and the rest is history. You can still stop by the Anchor Bar to try some of the best wings in town.

 

Fast forward almost 40 years. The movie “Osmosis Jones” featured a junk food addict heading to the National Chicken Wing Festival in Buffalo. However, no such event existed at the time. Buffalo News reporter, Donn Esmond, pondered as to why not. Drew Czerza,  now known as the “Wing King,” stepped forward and started the first festival in 2002.

 

Today, the festival, held on Labor Day Weekend, is one of the most popular events in the city. Events include sauce competitions, the Miss Chicken Wing  Pageant, musical entertainment, and the highlight of the event, The United States Chicken Wing Eating Competition.

 

Contact information

National Buffalo Wing Festival, www.buffalowing.com. The festival is held at Coca Cola Field, 275 Washington St., Buffalo.

Drew Czerza wingking@buffalowing.com

 

Anchor Bar, 1047 Main Street, Buffalo , 716-886-8920, www.anchorbar.com