Earlier today, at the Pearl Street Grill and Brewery, Buffalo’s Wing King Drew Cerza officially announced that he would be moving forward with the operations of the Powder Keg Festival. Jeff Empric and I are happy that Drew has decided to run with the festival, thus allowing the two of us to dedicate our energies elsewhere. Our biggest concern was that the festival land a qualified operator – one who was familiar with large-scale urban festivals. Drew was our man.
I spoke to Drew after the press conference regarding some of the change-ups being made to this year’s Powder Keg. “I’m excited to carry on the vision,” he expressed to me. “We want to build it bigger and better by partnering with companies and organizations such as The Bisons and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC). It’s a whole new attitude with the ECHDC – now that they have reached out to the community, I feel that there is a real synergy with the waterfront. I also think that bringing The Bisons in is great in that it extends the footprint of the festival and brings Pettibones Grill into the mix. That’s also where many of the athletic events will take place (in the parking lot). Another exciting event that we have lined up is the Fight for Air Climb. It’s a foot race to the top of One HSBC Center (Saturday February 12th at 10am), the tallest building in Buffalo. This is the first big event in the area for the American Lung Association – contestants will raise money for a good cause and have fun doing so (sign up online). We’ll have Clear Span heated tents, a Friday night Ice Breaker party, a kids’ pavilion, turkey bowling, a snow bunny contest, sledding off The Skyway exit ramp (faster this year), craft beer tasting on Sunday, and a Mark Twain chili cook-off inspired by yet another* Buffalo based movie, Bruce Almighty.”
*The idea for the Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival was born when Drew saw the movie Osmosis Jones, where Bill Murray was heading to the then fictional Buffalo Chicken Wing Contest… Drew saw the movie and the rest is history. The Mark Twain Chili Contest is the second movie to inspire a food contest in Buffalo.
Photo: Drew Cerza stands with title sponsor Russ Salvatore of Russell’s Steak Chops & More. This year’s festival is in conjunction with Labatt Pond Hockey and the Buffalo Auto Show.