Blazing buffalo wings are a popular food item here on the North Coast. For those of you Clevelanders who are true buffalo wing enthusiasts who can’t wait to eat this culinary treat, you must head to the annual National Buffalo Wing Festival being held at Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo, New York (the birthplace of this tasty delight) over Labor day weekend (Saturday, September 5 and Sunday, September 6). Since the start of the Festival in 2002, the Festival has had more than 865,000 visitors and they have served more than 4.5 million wings. It is approximately a 3 hour drive from Cleveland to Buffalo.
Celebrating its 14th 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 (Known as the “Wing King”) decided to create one. Last year more than 70,000 visitors came from all 50 states and from 36 countries to attend 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, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Georgia, Massachusetts, Colorado, Texas and Rhode Island will be offering their buffalo wings for tasting and for purchase. Featured attractions at the Festival include a wide variety of contests including a Amateur Wing Eating Contest, Amateur Creative and Traditional Sauce contests, a Baby Wing competition, The Nuclear Buffalo Wing Eating Contest, the College Wing Eating Competition 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. No hands allowed! Bobbing For Wings will take place on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Other activities include 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 as 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 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. Jumbo chicken wings are $1 apiece. Beer, soft drinks and bottled water can be purchased with cash from stadium vendors.
For those visitors wishing to stay overnight in the area, check out the Holiday Inn Buffalo Downtown located at 620 Delaware Ave. (716-886-2121). It is located only 5 minutes from the National Buffalo Wing Festival. The special price offer is $159 per night. Call for availability or to make reservations.
For more information about the National Buffalo Wing Festival, call 716-565-4141 or get online at www.buffalowing.com. Cocoa-Cola Field is located at 275 Washington St. in Buffalo, New York. Cleveland is 185 from Buffalo and it is approximately a 3 hour drive.