365 Things to Do in Memphis #109: Put a Wing On It at the Southern Hot Wing Festival

Posted by Holly Whitfield | April 24th 2015 1125 0

Updated June 2017

Warm up for Memphis in May with a cooking competition and festival that honors Memphis’ second favorite food (after barbecue): hot wings.

Hot Wings Central BBQ

Love wings, but never been? Here’s what you need to know:

When: Hot Wing Fest is usually the last weekend in April. The 2018 date has not been announced yet.

Where: The fest is in Mississippi River Park right by the Tennessee State Welcome Center close to the corner of Jefferson and Riverside Drive. Park in a nearby garage (or grab a cab or ride share) and waltz on down.

How much: In 2017, tickets were $20 on site, $15 in advance online or at the Ronald McDonald House, and free for kids ages 12 and under.


The cause: All proceeds from the event go to Ronald McDonald House, which gives families a place to stay while their child is getting treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Organizers say that the event has raised more than $225,000 over the years.

How to Eat The Wings: In recent years, it’s gotten a bit easier to actually eat the wings cooked during the Southern Hot Wing Festival, which originally was more similar to the Memphis in May barbecue cooking contest setup. Due to health department rules, the wings cooked for the competition are not technically for sale.

However, if you ask really nicely and bring some dollars, you can taste test wings for a $1-$2 donation in the team’s donation bucket, which goes directly to the Ronald McDonald House.

Hot Wing Fest, Memphis, Tenn.

Do bring: Cash, sunscreen, kids (12 and under can get in free).

Don’t bring: Pets, coolers, or outside food or drinks.

Music: There is usually live music at multiple stages.

For more info: southernhotwingfestival.com

Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

Show Comments


  1. Andy says:

    It's been a good time the past few years. If you like wings, that is (and who doesn't?)

  2. Chuck says:

      is it too late to enter the wing eating contest? cant i just attempt to enter the contest at the gate? 

Leave a Comment