For the first time, since initially getting off the ground 18 years ago, the National Buffalo Wing Festival will be serving up “authentic vegetarian wings”. While there are plenty of other new advancements being rolled out a the festival, news of the veggie wings is… well… good news!
According to WingFest organizers, “The vegetarian population has doubled over the last 10 years to 7.3 million. Fifteen percent of millennials follow a plant-based diet.”
The restaurant serving up the veggie wings, made with jackfruit, is Buffalo’s very own Root and Bloom Café – an eatery that has made a pronounced vegan mark within the Elmwood Village. The wings will be served up with traditional medium and BBQ sauces.
“You need to evolve with time or you can age out as an event. Each year we try to make changes and additions that keep our Wingfest fresh – this year is no different,” says Cerza.
Aside from veggie wings, the festival will also offer up more than 100 styles of chicken wings, with 10 new restaurants coming from as far as Surprise, Arizona and London, England. In 2018, the festival drew 50,000+ attendees from all 50 states and 36 different countries.
Another new addition to this year’s fest is the introduction of ranch dressing [ducks]. Yes, the festival has finally succumbed to this bizarre dipping ritual. Why? “A survey conducted in 2018 with over 2,000 people by the National Chicken Council showed that 59% of respondents preferred ranch to 35% for blue cheese.” It would be interesting to know where this study was conducted, because I highly doubt that was in Buffalo.
Per usual, there will be plenty of other things to see and do (and eat and drink) at this year’s WingFest, including attending the Miss Buffalo Wing Pageant (women 16+ years) and the Baby Wing Contest (children 0-4 years).
The festival founder, Wing King Drew Cerza, says that he started the festival so that Buffalo would forever be recognized as the birthplace of the chicken wing. “It was a chance for my hometown city to take ownership of the food icon that we created at the Anchor Bar in 1964.”
Mayor Byron Brown also feels a sense of pride when discussing the City of Wings.
“As the birthplace of the chicken wing, Buffalo pushes the celebration of the wing to greater heights every year via the National Buffalo Wing Festival. Now in its 18th year, the Wingfest has become a must-attend event for local residents and wing fans from across the U.S., North America and the world. I’m looking forward to another fantastic wing-filled weekend on August 31st and September 1st ,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown.
Saturday, August 31st from 12 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Sunday, September 1st from 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Sahlen Field | 275 Washington Street | Buffalo, NY 14203