Chicken wing enthusiasts in Centre County have at least seven reasons to visit Tussey Mountain before the end of the summer. On Thursday, the Boalsburg ski and sports resort will host the first event in its annual WingFest series, a multidate festival that gives visitors a chance to sample wings and sauce from local restaurants.
“This is the 16th year for WingFest and it continues to grow every year,” said Aaron Weyman, marketing director at Tussey Mountain. “It began as a small party on the lodge deck and has evolved into a weekly festival that draws thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds. Guests who come out on a nice summer evening are entertained with an awesome Happy Valley sunset, delicious food, drink and music.”
WingFest is more than just an opportunity for people to eat wings and listen to local bands; attendees also get to judge the food in a competition.
“Competing restaurants have the option to bring their own (wings), but otherwise, we provide the wings and they bring their sauces,” Weyman said. Each week, guests vote on which restaurant brought the best sauce, culminating in a seventh, final competition on Aug. 28.
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Anyone who has attended in previous WingFests can expect some new competitors this year.
“We do enjoy a lot of returning restaurants, and we certainly appreciate their enthusiasm for the event every year,” Weyman said. “It’s also exciting to welcome new business to the competition and help show them off to the community. This year, new competitors include Otto’s Pub & Brewery, Heidelberg Country Club, Big Daddy’s Grill & Chill and Pizza Hut Wing Street.”
The first round of the festival will feature food from Doan’s Bones, Wegmans and Main Street Café. The music headliner will be a Rolling Stones tribute band, The Glimmer Twins, with an opening performance by Cruel and Unusual. Other bands scheduled to perform throughout the summer include My Hero Zero, The Insomniacs and High Voltage. The musical performances are just one of the reasons Weyman recommends WingFest to everyone, whether or not they eat wings.
“The Tussey Mountain Amphitheater was recently voted ‘Best Place to See Live Music’ by State College Magazine, and WingFest was a large reason for that, so certainly there is more available for our non-wing lovers,” Weyman said. “We confidently believe that our location is one of the best in Centre County and the atmosphere alone at WingFest contains an energy that you’ve gotta personally experience to understand fully. Whether you come out with an empty belly or a full one, we think you’ll leave happy.”