The Annual Buffalo Wing Festival
In Buffalo, NY
Columbus' Wing King, Queen, and Princess all made the trip to Buffalo for the 4th annual Buffalo Wing Festival. Being that this is the 4th annual event, I had to make several comparisons to our own Wing Zing, and the comparison is quite favorable. We were personally invited to attend by the events found Drew Czera, The Buffalo Wing King. After a couple of discussions, he personally authorized my title as Columbus' Wing King. (Its kind of like the Pope making you a Bishop)
The event is held in the Dunn Tire Park, which is home to the AAA Buffalo Bison of the International baseball league. The Columbus Clippers frequently play here, so I felt quite welcome. Its a nice ball park and it was kind of fun being out in the field of a professional team. (I never got past little league in nearby Erie, PA) Many of the vendors are lined up along the first and third base lines and the stage in straight away centerfield. A few vendors also extended out into the right field and left field fence lines.
One of the bad things about our Wing Zing is some vendors make their wings there (good) and some make their wings ahead and time and truck them in. (very bad) At this festival, all the wings are deep fried(good) in one area and brought out to the individual vendors to be freshly prepared (mostly a good thing) The one exception is a particular vendor selling grilled wings, much like Barley's did at Wing Zing. ( I didn't eat any of those either) Being in Buffalo, this festival attracts some non-wing related business looking for your business such as Dodge, US Navy recruiting, Kissing Bridge Ski resort and others along with considerable media coverage. I thought this was a good thing and added to the atmosphere and gave us big eaters time to digest. This festival also has more contests and events and is a 3 day event. (We stayed for just one afternoon.
One of the great parts of the day actually also came from Columbus. After a few missed opportunities and exchanged email messages (emails is not a word) between the owner John, of Cajohn's Fiery Foods, we actually met 300 miles from home at this festival.
Cajohn's is really one of the up and coming hot sauces companies with quite an impressive variety of products. Check out their store on Oakland Park, just west of Cleveland Ave.
One disapointment of the event, was Anchor Bar's tent. They only brought thier medium sauce to the event and the wings we got were puny (event supplied) After several hours, we took off and spent half a day at Niagra falls. On our return back into the US we stopped for dinner (more wings) at the Anchor Bar.
It has been 27 years since my first visit to this place. We got lucky and got right in and seated. At first I was taken back that wings cost 80 cents each here now. That was quite a shock. We ordered 30 wings and my thinking was they are taking advantage of their fame. However, I was quickly reminded that they are worth it! Buffalo Wild Wing owners sometimes claim you can't make a big wing crisp. Well, they need to visit the Anchor and find out how a wing should be made. They were huge, plenty of sauce and the perfect crispness. My daughter said it best as she ate the last wing, "I'm stuffed but I just wanted to keep on eating." Yes, they were that good, I had forgotten just how good they are. As true wing lovers we were definitely in heaven. I would definitely state that every restaurant in Columbus who serves wings should make this trip and see just how wings are supposed to be. This is perfection.