Organizer: Great wings, great fun for a great cause

Two new vendors should bring new flavors to the 11th annual Wapakoneta Wing Fest on Saturday at the American Legion grounds.

And while wings will start to be served at the same time — noon — people can come at 10 a.m. to listen to Vince Koza and his Saturday morning sports radio show on 93.1 The Fan as he hits the airwaves remotely from the American Legion Post 330.

While one of the organizers is excited about the new additions, he says he receives the greatest satisfaction from the event helping others.

“I am excited about this year’s Wing Fest because of what we have been able to do for veterans health care benefits over the last 10 years,” Wing Fest co-organizer Kris Ewald said. “Through a lot of corporate generosity and a lot of volunteering efforts in the community we have been able to raise more than $80,000 in our first 10 years — I think that is a pretty strong testimony to a lot of great work by a lot of great people in a fairly short amount of time for a one-day event.”

This year two new vendors join a list of returning vendors.

Custer & Sons, of Lima, and Saucy Sows, of Jackson Center, join Meyer’s Tavern, of Botkins, who have been coming for 10 years and Buckeye Boys BBQ, of Delaware, who have been participating for eight years. Others include the Wapakoneta Knights of Columbus, Mother Cluckers, of Bellevue, and Mille’s Cafe, of Ottoville.

“We are always looking to tap into different markets and the Lima market has been a tough one for us to crack,” Ewald said. “We have a lot of people travel to Wing Fest from Lima so we are very happy to have Custer & Sons Barbecue, of Lima, and we are really happy to have Saucy Sows, of Jackson Center, and they are going to bring new flavor profiles to the market.”

Ewald said they started out by manufacturing mustards and it will be interesting to see how they blend mustard with the chicken wings.

The event also has a full schedule of events. With a volleyball tournament, poker run and baggo tournament starting the day in the morning, in the afternoon fans can watch the Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Michigan State Spartans at 3:30 p.m. Ewald noted this will segue into the evening live entertainment.

In the morning, Koza brings his morning sports talk show to the grounds. He will be on the air from 10 a.m. to noon when the wings start to go on sale. Ewald said fans of Koza’s show and football can come and listen or offer comments on the air.

There will be a number of raffles Wing Fest attendees also can take part in as well.

Ewald said he is ecstatic about the growing popularity of the event. In the months prior to the event, people often stop him and inquire about the event highlights and the vendors appearing.

“Our heart is in the right place as far as impacting the lives of veterans who are members of the Lima VA,” Ewald said. “As far as the number of people who attend the event and the amount of people who travel a great distance it is fantastic. We have vendors traveling from the likes of Delaware, the Columbus area and almost from the Lake Erie area, the Bellevue area, gives us a little cache as being one of the best regional festivals as a great food event.”