Drew Cerza, the self-styled “Wing King,” has come up with some new offerings to spice up the 12-year-old National Buffalo Wing Festival.
Wednesday, Cerza announced there will be a mechanical chicken, a hockey tournament on synthetic ice, comedy cooking show and even a first-ever vegetarian “wing” this Labor Day weekend at Coca-Cola Field.
The festival also will welcome 15 new participating restaurants among 32 in all, while bringing back the annual Chicken Wing Eating Championship, which will pit five-time winner Sonya Thomas against Joey Chestnut, who consumed a record 183 wings in winning last year.
“This is the biggest, the best, the most famous chicken-wing festival in the world,” Mayor Byron W. Brown said, as he tipped his hat to Cerza.
Cerza called this year’s festival, which will have more than 100 varieties of wings, “the most exciting lineup of restaurants and entertainment” yet.
Other events include the amateur Chicken Wing Eating Challenge, “Bobbing for Wings,” a wing-eating competition between teams from local colleges and a wing-eating square-off between Buffalo Bills players Eric Wood and Kraig Urbik.
BlueCross BlueShield will offer a healthy “Buffalo Flavored” recipe contest.
Entertainment will include Mark DeCarlo, host of the Travel Channel’s “Taste of America with Mark DeCarlo,” performing with a comedy cooking show, and blues music by the Heavenly Chillbillies.
Festival hours are noon to 9 p.m. Aug. 31 and noon to 7 p.m. Sept. 1. Tickets are $5, with kids under 8 free.
Credit cards will be accepted for the first time.