Over 3,000 hungry people attended the Big Kahuna Wing Festival in Knoxville’s World’s Fair Park Saturday June 22nd for wing competition to benefit News Sentinel’s Empty Stocking Fund and Ronald McDonald House.
Thirty contestants entered their best batches of wings with each group fiercely competing for the coveted title Best Wings in Knoxville. Almost 10,000 tickets at $10 a ticket were purchased towards the cause and attendees were given a punch card and encouraged to hit all thirty tents and sample one of their unique styles of wings.
For the Davis team, their family sauce recipe consists of “Frank’s Hot Sauce, BKW Seasoning and butter.” Others like Mulligan’s featured a New Orleans’s Cajun style wing while M.A.G II Homemade Sauces watered eyes all afternoon with their famous “Suicide Sauce.” “The most memorable wing for me was the Banana Foster Dessert wing dipped in whipped cream from 21st Wing Dings,” wing aficionado Kyle recanted.
After rumbling through all samples, they were asked to rip off the bottom part of their punch cards and place it in the ballot box of their favorite wing for the people’s choice part of the ceremony. First place wins a $1000 and ultimate bragging rights while second and third get $500 and $300, respectively.
“My favorite so far is Rooster’s. The wing was larger than most and the hot sauce was finger-licking good,” Kyle Bolton said as he wiped the sauce from his face.
While the festival’s guests waited for votes to be counted, musical performances by Freequency, Aaron Tracy Band, Big Gun and Jaystorm Project kept the festival in good spirits while, the Italian Ice Tent, Beer Tent and fountains for the kids the attendees refreshed.
It was the ultimate “come hungry, leave happy” mantra that brought together a great cross-section of Eastern Tennessee demographics united by their love of wings. The inaugural Big Kahuna Wing Fest was a success and is expected to become an annual event.