Buffalo wings are a popular food item in Cleveland. For those of you Clevelanders who are true buffalo wing fans and can’t wait to eat this culinary delight, you must head to the annual National Buffalo Wing Festival bring held at the Coca- Cola Field in Buffalo, New York over Labor Day weekend (Saturday, September 3 and Sunday, September 4), the birthplace of the tasty treat where in 2010, 500,000 wings were served (That’s over 33 tons of wings!). It is approximately a 3 hour drive from Cleveland to Buffalo.
National Buffalo Wing Festival Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the National Buffalo Wing Festival transpired because of a Bill Murray movie entitled “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 (now known as the “Wing King”) decided to create one.
Last year, 71,000 people (visitors from all 50 states and from 34 countries) attended the Festival which has been featured on the Food Network, the Travel Channel, “Taste of America,” NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s The View, the CBS Morning Show and Live with Regis & Kelly.
Restaurants from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Tennessee, Illinois, Wisconsin, Georgia, Missouri, Oregon and Washington will be competing for prizes and offering their buffalo wings for tasting and purchase. Representing the Northeast Ohio area will be the Wing Warehouse in the Akron area and Quaker Steak & Lube. A Cleveland connection involves NBA star Elmore Smith whose all-natural gourmet BBQ sauces are among the featured sauces at the Festival.
Featured attractions at the Festival include Amateur Creative and Traditional Sauce-Offs, an Amateur Wing Eating Contest, a Baby Wing Competition, the “Ridiculously Hot Buffalo Wing Eating Contest,” a Wingfest Birthday Cake Bake-off, Yancey’s Fancys Cheesiest Couple contest, the United States Chicken Wing Eating Championship and the Buffalo Blue Cheese Bowl where contestants will be bobbing for wings in a kiddie pool filled with blue cheese dressing. The Festival will also feature the professional National Wing Sauce-Off.
Other activities include the 5K Running of the Chickens, the Miss Buffalo Wing pageant, a Kids Zone and the Mark DeCarlo cooking show.
There will be plenty of free, live entertainment throughout the festival including Elvis tribute singer Terry Buchwald and Pirate Dreams, a Jimmy Buffet tribute band.
Hours for the National Buffalo Wing Festival are noon- 9 p.m on Saturday, September 3 and noon – 7 p.m. on Sunday, September 4. Admission is $5 per day. Children 8 and under are free. Food tickets are $1 each. The cost of wings at every stand are $2 for three wings. Lemonade, iced tea and smoothies can be purchased with food tickets. Beer, soft drinks and bottled water must be purchased with cash.
Those visitors wishing to stay overnight in Buffalo can get special room rates from the Holiday Inn – Downtown Buffalo ( 716-886-2121), the Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Buffalo/Airport (716-631-8700) and the Holiday Inn/ Airport (716-634-6969). Call to make reservations.
Coca-Cola Field is located at 275 Washington St. in Buffalo, New York. 716-565-4141. Cleveland is 189 miles from Buffalo and it is approximately a 3 hour drive.