GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On a sunny Saturday, downtown Glen Street was closed off to vehicles, but still jam-packed with traffic. As of shortly after noon, hundreds of visitors were lined up to buy tickets for the grand return of Glens Falls Wing Fest – and even more were in line to get some of the tasty offerings populating downtown.

“It’s incredible, the amount of people that are here,” said Wing Fest co-organizer Nancy Turner, a member of the Glens Falls Collaborative. “Hey, look at this day.”

Twelve restaurants – mostly local, one visitor – took to the streets of downtown Glens Falls on Saturday to put their wings to the test. Glens Falls Wing Fest gives out awards for the best wings, two different ways. Everyone who buys tickets can vote on their favorite, and a panel of special guest judges casts their own votes.

Not only was there plenty of hot chicken – and meatless options – to go around, but the flavors vary by restaurant. Gourmet Cafe offered a garlic parm option and a sweet and spicy flavor, to cover as many bases as they could. [farmacy] restobar got creative, with peanut butter and jelly wings that featured a Thai peanut sauce, strawberry glaze and toasted sesame seeds. Vegan cafe Birch Bark Eatery offered buffalo faux-chicken donuts. Whether traditional or out-there, the food went fast enough that organizers shut down ticket sales by around 1:45 p.m.

“We’ve never seen lines like this,” said co-organizer Kathy Spangler. “We want to make sure everybody gets to taste these wings,” Turner added.

  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest
  • Glens Falls Wing Fest

The dozen booths weren’t the only way to get a taste. At 2 p.m., a set of tables erected in the middle of Glen Street became the site of the first annual Michael DuBray Inferno Wing Eating Challenge. The competition was named after Mike DuBray, a beloved local DJ and event host personality who passed away earlier this year.

DuBray’s sister, Gina DuBray, was among 14 contestants challenged with a dozen intensely-spicy wings, all from Davidson Bros. Brewery and Restaurant. The challenge: Nine wings clocking in at 500,000 Scoville heat units, followed by three more that are ranked at 6 million Scoville. Then comes the hard part: A three-minute wait before drinking any milk to cool things down.

The fastest eater won a trophy, held by NEWS10’s own Tim Drawbridge. The two runners-up were given medals to remind them of the burn, and the camaraderie, that they felt on Saturday. For the winner – and his twin brother, in second place – Saturday was the first of, hopefully, many more spicy food gauntlets to come.

“I’ve been training for 40 years,” said competition winner Phil Hollis, holding his trophy and still coming down from his battle of spicy flavors. “Since I was a kid, we used to go to the Ground Round restaurant at Aviation Mall, and then my twin brother (Al Hollis), who won second place, attended the University of Buffalo, and I went and visited him all the time. I love hot wings.”

At day’s end, winners were announced at the bandstand in City Park. In addition to visitor voting, a panel of judges including Glens Falls Mayor Bill Collins and NEWS10 anchor Solomon Syed casts their own votes. Before winners were announced, Spangler picked up the microphone and announced that Davidson Bros. and the Bullpen would be honoring leftover tickets, as the wing reserves dried up.

“We had half the restaurants and three times the people,” Spangler said. “It was amazing. We wish we had a crystal ball to prepare, but we never know.”

The People’s Choice winners included:

  • The Bullpen for Best Wings
  • Juicin’ Jar for Best Meatless
  • Radici for Best Rookie
  • KOKO Chariot

Judges’ choices included:

  • Gourmet Cafe for Best Wings
  • KOKO Chariot for Best Visitor