On Sunday, February 22, nearly 2,000 chicken-wing lovers gathered at the sold-out Sixteenth Annual Chicago’s Best WingFest for a fierce wing-eating extravaganza. Over 50,000 chicken wings were consumed in Bailey Auditorium in the West Loop where four Chicago-area establishments were crowned first place winners and two individuals, one male and one female, were crowned “Lord and Lady of the Wings” for consuming the most wings in the eating competition.
Each establishment entered its wings in up to two categories: Mild Wings, Hot Wings, BBQ Wings, and Exotic Wings. Following a double-blind judged competition the coveted Best of the Fest award went to Buffalo Wings & Rings, for earning the most cumulative points overall. Other restaurants earning awards included Gators Wing Shack for Best Mild Wing; Output for Best Hot Wing; Buffalo Wings & Rings for Best BBQ Wing; Estrella Negra for Best Exotic Wing; and Whisk for Rookie of the Year.
Eighteen Chicago-area restaurants participated in the 2015 WingFest: Mahoney’s Pub & Grille, TopGolf, The Cubby Bear, Reggie’s, Timothy O’Toole’s, Wild Goose Bar and Grill, Estrella Negra, Whisk, Output, Rodan, Lottie’s, Lincoln Square Lanes, The Pony, Buffalo Wings & Rings, Gaslight, 12 Street Wings, Unite Urban Grill, and Gators Wing Shack.
In the eating competitions more than a dozen people competed in each gender bracket to see who could eat the most wings in three minutes to win the “Lord and Lady of the Wings” designation. In the female competition, Katrina Fraley of Chicago ate one dozen wings to once again reign victorious, as she won last year and two previous years ago. In the male rivalry, newcomer Leo Perez, also from Chicago, ate 15 wings.
To date, WingFest has raised more than $150,000 for various charities. This year’s WingFest netted $5,000 for Chicago Neighbors, a non-profit community-based organization that provides educational scholarships to inner city youth in the 27thWard of Chicago and assists with various neighborhood programs throughout the year.