The festival, in its 18 years, has raised nearly $300,000 for its charity, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis. With the exception of 2020, over 80 teams typically would compete to see who deserves the title of best wings. Expecting interest in the event to grow, this year organizers have room for 100 teams.
Formerly called the Southern Hot Wing Festival, the organizers upgraded the name several years ago and made it a bona fide world championship. They want this festival to celebrate the chicken just as much as Memphis in May's annual barbecue festival celebrates the pig.
You can sample the competition wings
You may have heard that the May barbecue fest isn't a lot of fun if you aren't on a team or know people on a team. You can buy barbecue from vendors, but without knowing someone, you don't get to try the competition meat itself. That is not the case at the World Championship Hot Wing Contest and Festival.
Teams put their wings out for the public to sample. All you have to do is get in line and grab a sample (usually contains 2-3 wings). The teams do ask that you put a dollar or two in their collection box for Ronald McDonald House Charities. Teams do not keep any of the money they collect. Because every team has a different flavor for its competition recipe, you will get to try wings with a wide variety of spices and rubs.
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