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 1735 0

Updated October 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 is the Memphis Hot Wing Fest? It is usually the last weekend in April. In 2018, it will be on Saturday, April 21.

Where is Hot Wing Fest? In 2018, the hot wing fest will move to Tiger Lane at the Liberty Bowl in midtown. It used to be at Mississippi River Park.

How much are hot wing fest tickets in Memphis? 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? 

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