National Buffalo Wing Festival

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National Buffalo Wing Festival
Date(s)Labor Day weekend, 2–3 September 2023
Location(s)Highmark Stadium
Years active21
Inaugurated2002 (2002)
Organized byDrew Cerza

National Buffalo Wing Festival or Wing Fest is a weekend festival held on Labor Day weekend at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, United States, celebrating the Buffalo style chicken wing. The festival culminates with the IFOCE sanctioned Buffalo Wing eating contest, which has taken place the Sunday of the festival since 2003, except 2020 when it was canceled.

Event history[edit]

This festival was inaugurated in 2002 at Sahlen Field. Founder Drew Cerza, called the "Wing King" by Buffalo News, was said to have modeled the event on a fictitious festival from the 2001 movie Osmosis Jones.[1]

Jill Greenburg said, "Of local festivals that have come and gone, the Wing Fest's staying power is a result of raising approximately $200,000 for local charities and serving almost 3,000,000 chicken wings with 100 sauce varieties to over 500,000 hungry visitors over the years." In 2010, the festival was video webcast live to over 84,000 online viewers.[2]

On September 2, 2012, Joey Chestnut consumed 191 wings, weighing 7.61 pounds (3.45 kg), in 12 minutes to take competitive-eating trophy from seven-time champion Sonya Thomas, becoming the first new champion since 2006.[3] After losing to Miki Sudo in 2013, Chestnut returned to his winning ways in 2014 by breaking his own record by eating 192 wings and successfully defended his title the next year by breaking yet another record, this time eating 205 wings on September 6, 2015. Two years later, he set another record, this time of 220 wings on September 3, 2017. Geoff Esper holds the record of 281 in 2019.

With the 2020 festival canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 19th was deferred to 2021. However, the Chicken Wing Fun Run went virtual. The 2021 event was held at Highmark Stadium, to which the festival returned in 2022. The 2022 festival also added a qualifying event for the USA Mullet Championships, which Cerza found to be a fitting synergy given the haircut's popularity in ice hockey, a popular sport in Buffalo.[4]

Event contests[edit]

Joey Chestnut competing at the 2012 festival at Sahlen Field

Contests at the National Buffalo Wing Festival include:[5]

  • US Chicken Wing Eating Championship
  • Amateur Chicken Wing Eating
  • Amateur Traditional Sauce Contest
  • Amateur Creative Sauce Contest
  • Ridiculously Hot Wing Eating Contest
  • Miss Buffalo Wing
  • Bobbing for Wings
  • Baby Wing
  • Buffalo Buffet Bowl
  • Yancey's Fancy Cheesiest Couple Contest
  • Yancey's Fancy Cheesy Dance-Off Contest
  • Battle of the Border
  • College Wing Eating Competition
  • Chicken Wing 5K (3.107 mi.) Run, since 2016.

US chicken wing eating championship competition winners[edit]

Contest duration is 12 minutes.

  Date Name Chicken wings eaten Notes
I 9/2/2002 N/A N/A Inaugural
II 9/1/2003 United States Sonya "Black Widow" Thomas 134
III 9/1/2004 161 Event record
IV 9/3/2005 United States Eric "Badlands" Booker 137
V 9/2/2006 United States Chip Simpson 158
VI 9/1/2007 United States Sonya "Black Widow" Thomas 173 Event record
VII 8/30/2008 165
VIII 9/6/2009 169
IX 9/5/2010 181 Event record[6]
X 9/4/2011 183 Event record
XI 9/2/2012 United States Joey "Jaws" Chestnut 191 Event record[7]
XII 9/1/2013 United States Miki Sudo 178
XIII 8/31/2014 United States Joey "Jaws" Chestnut 192 Event record
XIV 9/6/2015 205
XV 9/4/2016 188
XVI 9/3/2017 220 Event record
XVII 9/2/2018 206
XVIII 9/1/2019 United States Geoff Esper 281 New record.
XIX 9/05/2021 United States Miki Sudo 246 Women's event record.
XX 09-04-2022 TBA

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Klinck, Patrick (September 1, 2012). "Buffalo Wing Festival Starts Second Decade in a Big Way". Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  2. ^ "National Buffalo Wing Festival | Still Buffalo". Archived from the original on 2011-09-13. Retrieved 2011-09-23.
  3. ^ Baldwin, Richard (2012-09-05). "He ate 191 wings, but who's counting?". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  4. ^ "USA Mullet Championships hosts qualifying event at Buffalo Wing Fest". WGRZ. August 30, 2022. Retrieved 2022-09-05.
  5. ^ "Contest Information". National Buffalo Wing Festival. Archived from the original on August 29, 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  6. ^ "2010 National Buffalo Wing Festival - Black Widow Wins". 2010-09-06. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
  7. ^ "Chestnut eats record 191 wings in 12 minutes". timesheraldonline. 2012-09-02. Archived from the original on 2013-02-05. Retrieved 2012-09-02.

External links[edit]