365 Things to Do in Memphis #109: Put a Wing On It at the Southern Hot Wing Festival
Warm up for Memphis in May with a cooking competition and festival that honors Memphis’ second favorite food (after barbecue): hot wings. It’s time for the 13th Annual Southern Hot Wing Festival.
Love wings, but never been? Here’s what you need to know:
When: Hot Wing Fest is usually the last weekend in April. This year, it’s on April 25, 2015, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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: Advance tickets are $10 and are available at Memphis Mapco locations. Day-of tickets are $12 at the gate. You’re gonna want to bring more cash for wing donations, drinks, and other food. If you want to go big, VIP tickets are $100.
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 $150,000 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.
Do bring: Cash, sunscreen, kids (12 and under can get in free).
Don’t bring: Pets, coolers, or outside food or drinks.
Music: There’s more to do than just drink and eat wings at Hot Wing Fest. There are two stages in 2015 with nine different musical acts, including Eric Gales. Check out the full lineup here.
For more info: southernhotwingfestival.com