When it comes to festivals in Buffalo, there is one that reins supreme. Did you know that the National Buffalo Wing Festival attracts over 70,000 people, from all 50 states, and 44 different countries? Now, we are all well aware that there are some incredible festivals in Buffalo. Festivals are a dime a dozen in this city. But the National Buffalo Wing Festival takes the cake for being very Buffalo-centric because it is built around the world’s love of the chicken wing – a finger food that has climbed the ranks to rival the world’s love of pizza.
Drew Cerza was inspired to start to National Buffalo Wing Festival after watching actor Bill Murray portray a compulsive eater with a goal of attending the Super Bowl of junk food in the movie Osmosis Jones.
On Saturday, September 1, and Sunday, September 2, 28 local, regional, national and international eateries will come together at Coca-Cola Field to serve up over 100 styles of chicken wings. While the festival atmosphere revolves around eating wings, there’s plenty of other pageantry weaved into the day long celebration, including a Chicken Wing 5K, and a Miss Buffalo Wing Pageant.
Because there is so much going on during the event, we’ve decided to pass along Drew Cerza’s (The Wing King – lead image) breakdown of activities and events, which include a mechanical chicken wing ride.
Aside from all of the chicken wing craziness, the festival has managed to raise more than $365K for local charities since it first launched 16 years ago. 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.
2018 National Buffalo Wing Festival
Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018
12:00PM Festival Opens
12:00PM Miss Buffalo Wing Pageant
1:30PM Amateur Creative Sauce-Off
2:00PM Amateur Traditional Sauce-Off
3:00PM Bobbing for Wings
4:00PM Dennis George Quiz Master Show
4:30PM Amateur Wing Eating Champ.
5:00PM Restaurant Awards Ceremony
6:00PM Buffalo Buffet Bowl
7:00PM Live Music – Rough Stock Band
8:00PM Live Music – Keith James
9:00PM Closing Ceremonies
Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018
11:00AM 5K Chicken Wing Run
1:00PM Baby Wing Competition
1:30PM Dennis George – QuizMaster
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
Wing & Food Vendors
Anchor Bar-Buffalo, NY
Bocce Club Pizza-Amherst, NY
Boneheads Wing Bar- West Warwick, RI
Buffalo Wild Wings-National
Center Street Grille-Enola, PA
Chrusciki Bakery- Buffalo, NY
Danny’s South-Orchard Park, NY
Doc Sullivan’s- Buffalo, NY
Falletta’s Restaurant-Clarence, NY
Fire on the Mountain- Portland, OR
Forghedaboudit-Deming, New Mexico
J.B. Quimby’s-Rochester, NY
Legend Larry’s-Sheboygan, WI
Millie’s Café-Ottoville, OH
Perry’s Ice Cream-Akron, NY
Pop In Bob’s Kettle Corn-Buffalo, NY
Quaker Steak & Lube-National
Sticky Wings-London, England
The Blind Rhino-Norwalk, CT
The Dirty Buffalo-Norfolk, VA
The Old Union Hotel-Binghamton, NY
Original Crunch Roll Factory-Buffalo, NY
Windjammer’s Bar and Grill-Rochester, NY
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 Creative Sauce-Off
Amateur Traditional Sauce-Off
Baby Wing Contest
Miss Buffalo Wing Pageant
Other Signature Events
Bobbing for Wings
National Restaurant Sauce-Off Competition
Craft Beer Corner
Resurgence Brewing Company
Big Ditch Brewing Company
Flying Bison Brewing Company
Community Beer Works
Live Music and Entertainment Offerings
Live Country Music by the Rough Stock Band
Acclaimed Quiz Master Dennis George puts on trivia and Family Feud-style shows
Mechanical Chicken Wing Ride
Back by popular demand, the mechanical chicken wing ride will be back at the Wingfest. Similar to a mechanical bull ride, except shaped in the form of a chicken wing, attendees can challenge their friends and see if they can ride like a real cowboy. The ride is enclosed in a large blowup plastic pool to ensure safety for all riders and is speed controlled based on the age of the rider. Prizes will be given to the five riders that last the longest on the wing.
VIP Party Deck – “Wing It InStyle”
For just $30, guests can get the royal treatment with festival admission, private seating, table service, one complimentary beverage, private VIP cash bar, VIP badge, commemorative 17th annual cup as well as a Commemorative “Wingfest Great Plate”, $5 off a festival t-shirt, and prime views of the main field and entertainment stage. Free wine and spirit tastings will also be available.
Buffalo Ninja Challenge
The Wingfest welcomes back the Buffalo Ninja Challenge. Building on NBC’s wildly popular American Ninja Warrior series, the National Buffalo Wing Festival will now offer those who think they’ve got what it takes the experience of becoming the ninja warrior on this very unique course. New this year, all attendees can attempt the course for a $5 fee. The Buffalo Ninja Challenge is open to both kids and adults looking to compete on a five-station obstacle course—just like the ones seen on TV. Buffalo’s own American Ninja Warrior, Patrick Hall (Season 5), will serve as the host all weekend long.
Covered On-Field Seating
The National Buffalo Wing Festival offers guests the opportunity to enjoy their wings with on-field seating underneath a large big top tent which extends from third base to second base and is open to all festivalgoers for relief from sun or just to sit, relax and enjoy their wings!
Chicken Wing 5K
Continuing the tradition of adding an ironic healthy twist at the Wingfest, the Chicken Wing 5K Run will be held on Sept. 2nd at 11 a.m. The race takes runners on a scenic 3.1-mile circular route that winds through downtown Buffalo and beyond (view race map here). The USATF certified and sanctioned race route takes participants through the Inner Harbor and industrial sections of Buffalo under new development—an area that perfectly blends the beauty of old Buffalo with the promise of the city’s future. The Run is sponsored by The Buffalo News and WKBW TV7.
2018 National Buffalo Wing Festival
Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018 (12-9pm)
Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018 (12-7pm)
Coca-Cola Field (275 Washington Street, Buffalo, 14203)
Admission is $5. Children under 8 are free
Lead image courtesy National Buffalo Wing Festival