Did you know that the Buffalo wing was invented in Buffalo, N.Y, in 1964? At the 22nd annual National Buffalo Wing Festival, Buffalo pride (for the chicken and the city) is evident. This Super Bowl for the chicken wing industry takes place at Highmark Stadium, the home of the Buffalo Bills, and based on past years, is likely to draw over 50,000 hungry wing aficionados eager to get their hands and faces covered in sauce.
The festival was inspired by “Osmosis Jones,” an off-beat, early 2000s Bill Murray film about a fried food-infatuated man who travels to Buffalo for a chicken wing festival. When National Buffalo Wing Festival founder Drew Cerza, otherwise known as the “Wing King,” saw the movie, he realized there was no real life festival, so he set out to start one.
Today, the festival has offered wings from over 150 restaurants, and hosts fan favorite activities like bobbing for wings, which requires participants to pluck as many chicken wings as possible from a kiddie pool of blue cheese dressing. The catch: you can’t use your hands. You can also take part in the XXX Hot Wing Eating Contest, a College Wing Eating Competition, and an Amateur Wing Eating Competition.
- Over 50,000 people have attended in years past.
- General admission is $20 per day, and children 8 and under are free.
- Chicken wings must be purchased with food tickets, which cost $13.95. You will get a sheet of 10 tickets, and one ticket is equivalent to one wing. Cash only.
- Tickets are purchased at the gate.
- If you want to do more exploring, check out this guide to the best things to do in Buffalo, which includes tips on where to find good wings.
When and where will the National Buffalo Wing Festival 2023 take place?
The food festival, which is also called the National Buffalo Chicken Wing festival, runs over Labor Day weekend in Buffalo, New York. In true Buffalo style, the fest takes place at Highmark Stadium – “Home of the Buffalo Bills” — which is located at One Bills Drive, Orchard Park, New York 14127.
What is the Wing It On! USA Chicken Wing Eating Championship?
Wing It On! USA Chicken Wing Eating Championship is the main event at Buffalo Wing festival. The contest will take place at 5pm on Sunday, September 3rd, 2023, at Highmark Stadium. This is the eating competition for the pros.
I’m an amateur and want to participate in the competition. Can I?
If you’re not a pro and want to take part, there is a competitive food eating contest for amateurs only. The Amateur Wing Eating Championship takes place at 3pm on Saturday, September 2nd.
I own a food truck. Can I enter my wing sauce in the competition?
Yes. In fact, last year’s best wing festival favorite was a food truck from Wyoming — Double Dub’s. (Check out buffalowing.com for all of last year’s winners.)
What is the closest airport to the National Buffalo Wing Festival?
Buffalo Niagara International Airport is an 18 minute drive from Highmark Stadium, where the Buffalo Bills play.
How far is downtown Buffalo from the Orchard Park?
The driving distance between Buffalo and Orchard Park is 15 miles. It takes approximately 17 minutes to drive from Buffalo to Orchard Park.
How long is the drive from Buffalo to Niagara Falls?
The direct drive from Niagara Falls to Buffalo is 21.8 miles and should take 27 mins if you’re driving in normal traffic.
I thought the Buffalo Wing fest was held at Coca-Cola Field. When did that change?
The festival was held at Sahlen Field, right in Buffalo, from 2002 to 2019. Originally known as Pilot Field, the venue was also named Downtown Ballpark, North AmeriCare Park, Dunn Tire Park, and Coca-Cola Field.
Is there free parking at the festival?
Yes, there is free parking. The parking lot is on Stadium Drive off Southwestern Boulevard between Abbott Road and California Drive. Look for festival parking signs.
How can I purchase beverages?
While general admission and wing tickets are cash only, beverages can only be purchased with a debit or credit card.
Will there be live music?
Yes, bands playing the festival include: Rusty Nickel, The Dennis George Original Variety Show, Dave Turner, Scott Celani, Boomerang and TJ Tetzlaff.
Does the festival support local charities?
According to the festival’s website, the National Buffalo Wing Festival has raised more than $440,000 for local charities over the course of its 21 years. In 2023, they will again support FeedMoreWNY and The Alzheimer’s Association of WNY.