The 9th Annual Wingfest brings to its main stage Classic Rocker Eddie Money and the best of the best in wings from 12 area restaurants. The event benefits Seven Hills Homeless Shelter and the Alzheimer’s Association.
Four-time champ is Beef ‘O’ Brady wants to take home the title once again. The staff wore t-shirt that said they “wing, wing, wing.”
Its owner Matt Amato said they’ve been open in Bentonville for five years and shared his secret to the perfect wing.
“It’s all about the sauce, the sauce is nine tenths of the job right there and how you cook it,” Amato said.
The pressure and competition are tough, but wing cookers said confidence is the key to succeed.
“Believe it or not, I do get a little nervous on these days,” Amato said. “But at the end of the day I know what I serve and I know it’s the best.”
Restaurant employees sizzled their wings and added their own ingredients.
“We’ve got jabaneros and mangos cut up with a little bit of onions and garlic sauce,” said Steven Roberts, who works at Grubs. “It’s really good, really spicy.”
The public chooses the winner in three categories, which include “Most Exotic,” “Best Buffalo,” and “Best Overall.” The fourth category is chosen by a group of judges known as the “Best Overall, Judges Choice.”
There some young judges in the crowd. Stephen Jewell, 13, said the mess was well worth it.
“I’ve gone here for the past two years and I’ve loved them, every single one of them,” Jewell said.
Matt Miller, Wingfest’s program director, said in the most exotic category ingredient get crazy and creative.
” One year we had peanut butter and jelly, another year we had pancakes and syrup so tonight I don’t know what to expect,” Miller said. “But somebody will get creative and will bring something really fun out here and everybody will get to try it.”
The festival has grown to attract thousands of wing lovers.
“It started as a small, little event inside the Northwest Arkansas Mall and now look at this, it’s a big event,” Miller said.