Buffalo wings are a popular food item in Cleveland. For those of you Clevelanders who are true buffalo wing fans who can't wait to eat this culinary delight, you must head to the annual National Buffalo Wing Festival being held at Coco-Cola Field in Buffalo, New York (the birthplace of the tasty treat) over Labor Day weekend (Saturday, August 31 ans Sunday, September 1).
Since the start of the Festival in 2002, the Festival has had more than 407,000 visitors and they have served more than 2.4 million wings. (That's over 137 tons of wings!). It is approximately a 3 hour drive from Cleveland to Buffalo.
National Buffalo Wing Festival Celebrating its 12th anniversary, the National Buffalo Wing Festival transpired because of a Bill Murray movie, "Osmosis Jones" where the main character was a compulsive eater who dreamed of attending the National Buffalo Wing Festival which in reality, didn't exist at the time. Native Buffalonian Dean Cerza (now known as the "Wing King") decided to create one.
Last year visitors from all 50 states and from 30 countries attended the Festival which has been featured on the Food Network, the Travel Channel, "Taste of America," NBC's Today Show, ABC's The View" and the CBS Morning Show.
Restaurants from New York, Ohio, Arizona, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Georgia, Oregon and from the province of Ontario in Canada will be offering their buffalo wings for tasting and for purchase.
Featured attractions at the Festival include Amateur Creative and Traditional Sauce-Offs, an Amateur Wing Eating Contest, Baby Wing Competition, The "Ridiculously Hot Buffalo Wing Eating Contest," the Mark DeCarlo Comedy Cooking Challenge and the United States Wing Eating Championship.
A real crowd-pleasing attraction is the Bobbing for Wings event where contestants will be bobbing for wings in a kiddie pool filled with blue cheese dressing.
Other activities include a 5K Running of the Chickens, the Miss Buffalo Wing pageant, a Kids Zone and the Buffalo Buffet Bowl where contestants will try to finish as many chicken wings, pieces of roast beef and pieces of pizza that they can in 10 minutes.
There will be plenty of free, live entertainment throughout the Festival including performances by the Dennis George Original Variety Show and by the Heavenly Chillbillies. Also make sure you catch the Balloon Guy Dennis Regling who will make some amazing balloon creations while providing jokes, puns, trivia questions and humor.
Hours for the National Buffalo Wing Festival are noon - 9 p.m. on Saturday and noon - 7 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 per day. Children 8 and under are free. Food tickets are $1 each. Lemonade, iced tea and smoothies can be purchased with food tickets. Beer, soft drinks and bottled water can be purchased with cash.
And be sure that you don't miss sneak-peak screenings of the upcoming documentary "Great Chicken Wing Hunt" that features scenes from the National Buffalo Wing Festival and explores the question "Who makes the world's best Buffalo wings?" Screenings are being held at the city's historic Market Arcade Theater (located at 639 Main Street in Buffalo) at 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m, 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
For more information about the National Buffalo Wing Festival call 716-565-4141 or get online at www.bufflaowing.com.
Coca-Cola Field is located at 275 Washington St. in Buffalo, New York. Cleveland is 185 miles from Buffalo and it is approximately a 3 hour drive.