After dinner, we went downtown and drove past the Peace Bridge (which connects Canada to the United States). It was lit up in red and blue colors for Labor Day weekend. Downtown, we visited the memorial for President McKinnley. He was shot on September 6, 1901 at the Pan-americ Exposition, a world’s fair held in Buffalo. He died on September 14 due to gangrene from the bullet.
|There were bugs all over this!!|
On Saturday, two of the colony members invited me out to the 10th Annual National Buffalo Wing Festival at Coca-Cola Field. The festival celebrates “Buffalo Wings”, which have become a national food icon. Invented in 1964 at the world famous Anchor Bar by Frank and Teresa Bellisimo, Buffalo, NY is the official “Home of the Chicken Wing.” Last year alone, over 13.5 billion wings were consumed by Americans, with 1.25 billion consumed on Super Bowl weekend alone.
In 2001, actor Bill Murray playing Frank Detorre starred in one of his notoriously eclectic movies entitled, “Osmosis Jones.” In this film, Murray played the part of an average Joe addicted to fried food and other arter-clogging fare, who was heading to Buffalo, NY for a chicken wing festival. As everyone knew, there was no chicken wing festival in Buffalo at the time… well, at least not yet.
Buffalo News columnist Donn Esmonde heard about the Murray movie and wondered why there wasn’t a festival. Esmonde wrote a column suggesting there should be a festival and then Drew Cerza, festival founder and “Wing King,” made a plan and asked the community for support. The past ten years for the festival was filled with 575,000 people, almost 3 million wings weighing more than 150 tons, 191 participating restaurants, $200,000 in charitable contributions and even a wedding ceremony. Last year, the festival tracked visitors from all 50 states and 34 different countries. I was the first person this year to inform them they had a visitor for Pittsburgh! So they added a little pushpin to the map.
The Wingfest has drawn the attention of media throughout the world, including many appearances on CNN, the Travel Channel, the View, Regis and Kelly, the Food Network, and the Today Show. It was also the subject for a PBS documentary.
The benefiting charities for 2011 are the Western New York Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Meals on Wheels for Western New York.
It was a very neat experience. They opened up the Coca-Cola field, which is used for the NY Mets’ minor league baseball team, the Buffalo Bison. The tents were set up down on the field and people were allowed to sit up in the seating area. They had a stage where they were hosting sauce-offs, eating contests, bake-offs, and more. Duff Goldman for Food Network’s Ace of Cakes was also hosting something late in the day on Saturday. They even have a Miss Buffalo Wing Pageant and a Jimmy Buffet tribute band. Sadly, no one I was with knew who Jimmy Buffet is. That troubled me.
With the exception of Timmy Ho’s cookies and coffee, there unfortunately wasn’t much to eat for people who don’t eat wings (but that is a given for a wing fest.) Until Saturday, I hadn’t had wings in about a year. Then I caved. There were so many vendors from across the United States and so many different types of sauces, and I just got caught up in the moment and the “living the culture” attitude. Oh well, decision made. Two of my favorite sauces were Mango BBQ from Hurricane Grill & Wings (AZ, FL, IN, MI, NY, OH) and Jamaican Jerk from Fire on the Mountain Buffalo Wings (Portland, OR).
I did a load of laundry yesterday, and realized that within about a month’s time, I have done laundry in three different states. Woo. I tried for the first time the detergent/dryer sheets, and my clothes weren’t very fresh-smelling. AND I only had a $10 bill on me, so I ended up getting $10 in quarters for one load of laundry. That was a good time.
This morning, some of the women and I went shopping for recruitment and publicity supplies. We have an event tonight where we will be making “save the dates” for recruitment events and talking about how recruitment has been going thus far. I am looking forward to a little more relaxed event with the women.