Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chicago's WingFest

Chicken wings are a sickness, worsened by the easy availablity of the delicious little morsels; a cate that Shakespeare himself would have endlessly praised in perfect iambic pentameter if he had eaten only one. The fiery or sweet treats appearing in what surely must be a thousand iterations supposedly were invented in Buffalo, New York. Buffalo failed to capitalize on this perfect opportunity to become a prime tourist destination to where people would travel from far and wide to gorge on this perfect piece of chicken. Surely then it was only a matter of time until another city decided to wrest away the word "Buffalo" from "wings."

And thus Chicago's WingFest must have been born. WingFest is returning this Sunday, February 28, 2010 to the West Loop, for the eleventh year. (Updated info on Twitter) With the admirable goal of raising money for Charity, WingFest features 22 area bar-type restaurants competing for the title of Best Wings in Chicago. Alas, WingFest is something about which I will only dream of attending. It's on Sunday; its far away; and it's cold and snowy out. Will the sponsors please come to their senses and make it a week long Loop based outdoor festival in better weather, more on the order of Taste of Chicago or Chicago's Oktoberfest or Christmas Market? WingFest needs to take its mission more seriously. Hidden away in a location obscure to all but Bulls' fans, plumbers, and Yuppies, it is doing nothing to advance Chicago's world-class reputation (given as a reason why Rio got the Olympics and not us) of fat people eating. If you read the message boards for Chicago on a travel site such as Trip Advisor, you will soon realize Chicago style pizza and hot dogs are potent visitor draws. Why not the wing?

Since Buffalo has taken an ill-advised bye on building its economy on the chicken wing, it is high time for Chicago to bridge the chicken wing gap in a serious way. But on a Sunday? Meeting your friends who work in the loop, or taking an excursion with your work-mates to enjoy lunch or cocktails and perhaps a little music in the fresh air in better weather would be a wonderful addition to Chicago's outdoor life. If only the restaurants and sponsors would get serious about the chicken wing, Chicagoans, tourists and I will come.


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