If you are a wing lover you may find it hard to believe but there was a time when chicken wings were the least desired and expensive part of the chicken. Today, that is far from the case--wings are one of the most popular item on any appetizer menu, especially during football season. According to the National Chicken Council, during Super Bowl weekend, it is estimated that over 1.33 billion wings are consumed in the US.
But you don’t have to wait until Super Bowl to “get your wing on”.
The 12th annual Hudson Valley Wingfest is coming to the Mid-Hudson Civic Center on January 26th where someone will be named 2019’s “King of the Wings”. If that’s too long to wait, there are festivities leading up to the event starting on January 3rd with "Bad to the Bone" wing eating competitions throughout the Hudson Valley with the winner taking away a grand prize of $1047.
It might interest you that the original “Buffalo Wing” happened by accident in 1964 when Teresa Bellissimo, co-owner of the Anchor Bar in Buffalo tossed together wings and hot sauce to serve her son and friends while they threw back a few beers. Fast forward 50 years and you’ll find an American obsession with wings. Not just Buffalo wings, we are talking lemon pepper, BBQ, garlic Parmesan, teriyaki, sweet soy, gochujang... That is what Hudson Valley Wingfest is all about--variety!
Angelo Natoro, known as “Big Ang”, owner of BAP Events and creator of Wingfest, tells me, “Wingfest 12 will be the biggest, funniest and most delicious wing event of the year! We have the best wing restaurants battling it out for HV wing supremacy.” After sampling wings made over 100+ ways, ticket holders will be able to judge, and restaurants will be competing in categories such as most creative, hottest, best dry rub, BBQ and best dessert wings.
Many of you may know Big Ang from K104.7 radio, where he is on with Woodman in the Morrning hosting the "Traveling Fork with Big Ang". I first met Big Ang a couple of years back when he was working on Wingfest 10 as he was nailing down the perfect formula for hosting the best and most successful events. Since then things have exploded and Big Ang has become the most “festive” person I know.
This past year his festivities included a Bacon Bash, Pizza and Meatball Fest, the Seafood Fest, Taco Fest and Mac & Cheese Fest, drawing crowds all over the Hudson Valley. March 2019 will bring the first ever Hudson Valley Chowder & Brewfest which will feature a festival of chowders, soups, bisques and chilis. Guaranteed to be a great way to warm up this winter. Look for more information coming soon.
Notaro says he was born into the restaurant business, with his father owning Italian restaurants in the Bronx and Westchester. “The philosophy of BAP Events is to make sure everyone is having a great time,” says Notaro, “Our Wingfest has sold out every year. Last year over 3,000 wing lovers came out to enjoy the food, the bands and the competition. This year, we have more wing flavors and more restaurants--many returning and several notable new restaurants to help make it a big foodie event.”
Last year’s King of the Wings winner, PC Paddocks, will be back to defend their title as well as past winner the Barryville Sports Bar. We have heard whistlings that Whistling Willies has something special up their sleeve and Planet Wings also is a gearing up to fight for the title.
With a background in mixed martial arts and boxing (with over 25 amateur fight under his belt) Notaro is all about some healthy competition. You can get more information on these events and sign up to participate on their HV Wingfest Facebook page. In that competitive spirit, former WWE champion Marty Jannetty will be at Wingfest on January 29th, to sign autographs.
New to Wingfest this year, a Wing King Jr Contest held on January 19th at the Poughkeepsie Galleria from 3:00-5:00 p.m. “Although Wingfest itself is not a kids’ event, we like the idea of getting kids introduced to the kitchen early, you never know where it will take them in a career, so we are doing our first-time ever Wing King Jr.” says Notaro.” It’s a kids’ wing sauce competition for kids 8 to 12. “We supply wings and kids come up with their best wing sauce to put over them!” K104’s Jill will be there as the official MC and Malcolm Mitchell, Food Network Star and voted “Best Chef in Baltimore” will be there to meet and greet you and these future chefs. There will also be a chance for the kids to win $500 in cash and prizes.