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Organizers turning up the heat for this year's Wing Festival

Ashley Hirtzel

A preview of the 13th annual National Buffalo Wing Festival was held in downtown Buffalo Wednesday. The event takes place on August 30 and 31 at Coca Cola Field.

This year'se lineup includes 28 regional and national restaurants including La Nova, Buffalo Wild Wings, Duff's Famous Wings, Anchor Bar, and Quaker Steak and Lube.

The restaurants will compete in the National Sauce-Off Competition for bragging rights for the best sauce. The U.S. Chicken Wing Eating Competition will also take place at the event, featuring some of the world's top competitive eaters.

Festival Founder Drew Cerza says the Wing Festival attracts nearly 80,000 people to Buffalo each year. He says organizers have ordered 60,000 pounds of wings for the event.

"The lineup of restaurants this year are stronger than ever with eight new additions. It always amazes me how many really good wing joints there are in the United States and we are proud to bring them to Buffalo, to they can show off their stuff," said Cerza.

Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO
Anchor Bar chicken wings.

Cerza says this year's festival will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the invention of the chicken wing by focusing on hot wings.

"It's going to be the hottest wings that ever were assembled in the world at one time, right here in Buffalo New York," Cerza said.

Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Patrick Kaler says the festival provides a boost in tourism for western New York.

Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO
Buffalo Wild Wings

"Everybody talks about Buffalo chicken wings. Just recently, for example, Jimmy Fallon was talking about his favorite food, chicken wings. He did a little challenge on his show. So, to be able to have a food tied to our destination that people from around the world know about and identify, and then they want to come and experience it," said Kaler.

"Then it's not just about eating the Buffalo chicken wing, it's about getting out and exploring all Buffalo has to offer. So, it's a really great opportunity for us to hang our hat on something that's so nationally known."

A portion of the proceeds for this year’s event will benefit several charities, including the Alzheimers Association of WNY, Meals on Wheels of WNY and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.