Like other food festivals across Western New York, the Pandemic has forced some modifications so the annual WingFest is going virtual this year, in a manner of speaking...

WIVB-TV reports rather than pulling back, organizers are making the event bigger than ever, starting with expanding its geography, and its timeline.

“This is going to be one huge Buffalo team effort going across the country.”

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Buffalo’s own Wing King, Drew Cerza, has put a lot of thought and improvisation into  the 19th edition of his annual Wing Fest.

“We’ve decided to take Buffalo to all of America,” Cerza said.

Over the past 18 years, more than a million people have enjoyed more than 4 million different sauced chicken wings with bleu cheese, of course. And all of that activity has taken place in the home of the chicken wing Buffalo.

But this year’s WingFest is going (mostly) virtual, following the likes of the Taste of Buffalo, where participants are the driving force to keeping the event alive.

Cerza and WingFest organizers created a website, chickenwingusa.com, that links participants in more than 50 cities across the country to America’s Greatest Chicken Wing Party, to find their own wing oasis, and share their experiences on social media.

It’ll happen throughout the month of October, which Cerza is hoping receives Congressional and state proclamations as National Chicken Wing Month.

“In a nutshell, we’re really excited. It sounds crazy to say we’re going to reimagine WingFest. But we’re not quitting. We’re going to make it bigger and better, and do it in a different way,” Cerza added. “You need to smell and taste the product. It’s the socialization at WingFest, you meet people. It’s just a big, cool party. It’s fun and it’s exciting, and you just can’t translate that. But you can through social media with crazy pictures and videos and things like that.”

America’s Greatest Chicken Wing Party will also continue the WingFest emphasis on giving back, asking people to organize wing eating parties where at least a part of the proceeds are donated to their local food banks.