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New venue, chicken wing shortage highlight return of National Buffalo Wing Festival

Thomas O'Neil-White/WBFO News
Wing King Drew Cerza

A worldwide chicken shortage is one of several challenges and changes National Buffalo Wing Festival organizers face as plans continue to take shape for the 20th year of the event.

A scheduled Toronto Blue Jays home stand at Sahlen Field Labor Day weekend has caused Wing Fest to relocate to Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, where capacity will be at 50%.

Looming above this news is the worldwide chicken shortage which has impacted the quantity and price of chicken wings in the area for months, said Strategic Resource Group Managing Director Burt Flickinger III.

“As whole chickens become more expensive, people started to put more chicken wings on the menu is the lowest price part of the chicken and with the popularity of chicken wings and it being the lowest price demand reached unprecedented proportions,” he said. “Which is affecting the supply for the chicken wing festival this fall as well as the supply regionally, nationally and internationally.”

Flickinger anticipates chicken wing prices to normalize in the spring and summer months of 2022.

What does this mean for this year’s Wing Fest? Organizer and self-professed Wing King Drew Cerza said the wing shortage is a contributing factor to the number of tickets for sale.

“Chicken wings are really tough to come by. There's a limited supply, and they're about double in costs, so we feel like we can comfortably serve 25,000 people over that weekend.”

Tickets for Wing Fest can no longer be purchased at the door and can only be purchased online. Tickets go on sale July 9th at 10 a.m. More information can be found here.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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