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

THIS WEEKEND! A festival dedicated to Memphis's second favorite food—hot wings.

The World Championship Hot Wing Contest & Festival, formerly known as the Southern Hot Wing Festival is part cooking competition  part celebration of Memphis as the hot wing capital of the South.

people eating chicken wings in a tent at a festival
Craig Thompson
Try exclusive sauces at Bosses Chicken. | Alex Shansky

If you've never been to the annual event, here’s what you need to know:

When is the World Championship Hot Wing Contest & Festival?
October 22, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Where is World Championship Hot Wing Contest & Festival?
The fest is at Tiger Lane at the Liberty Bowl in midtown. 

How much are hot wing fest tickets in Memphis? 
$15 + fees online in advance or $20 at the gate.  Military and veterans get in free. Kids 12 and under get in free. That includes entry only. Bring $1 dollar bills for team wing sample donations and additional money for other food and drinks. 

The competition:
It's fierce! More than 80 teams from Memphis, the South, and countries including Canada, Costa Rica,  and South Africa all gather in Memphis. They'll fire up hot wings and a huge array of sauces and flavors for the judges to compete for the coveted title of Hot Wing World Champion. 

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 $300,000 over the years.

How to Eat The Wings At World Championship Hot Wing Contest & Festival

If you ask nicely and bring some ones, you can taste wings for a $1-$3 per wing donation in the team's bucket, which goes directly to the Ronald McDonald House. Wings will not be officially for sale from competition tents. 

In short, give teams a buck or two, get a wing. Wings come out in batches so be aware that that exact moment you walk up to a team may not be the exact moment they have a batch ready. Just go with the flow, walk around, chat with people, and have fun. 

How do you sign up to compete, be a vendor, or a volunteer?
Volunteer: Volunteers are needed to make the day a success! Read all the details and apply here.
Teams: The first 100 teams are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Team applications closed September 15.
Vendors: Vendors spots are accepted by application; this year's vendor applications are closed. 

Do bring:
Cash, sunscreen, kids that you will supervise. 

Don't bring:
Pets, coolers, or outside food or drinks. Leave the dogs at home

Music: There is live music at multiple stages! 

For more info: worldwingfest.com

World Championship Hot Wing Contest & Festival schedule

  • 11 a.m. - Memphis Second Line Jazz Band leads a flock of chickens in a parade down Tiger Lane to the Main Stage}
  • 1 p.m. - Earl The Pearl 
  • 2:30 p.m. - Play Some Skynyrd
  • 3 p.m. Hot Wing Festival Parade
  • 3:30 p.m. Hot Wing Eating Competition
  • 4:15 p.m. Nettie Parr and the Peoples
  • 5 p.m. Drew Davis (comedian)
  • 5:15 p.m. Awards 
  • 6 p.m. Aquanet



check out the Memphis Hot Wing Trail 

Can't wait until Wing Fest? Get some hot wings at The Bayou or another of Memphis's many chicken wing spots.

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