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WingFest Returns to Tussey Mountain

This story originally appeared in the Centre County Gazette.

WingFest will make its return to Tussey Mountain on Thursday, June 13, for another year of wings, beer and music. 

WingFest features local restaurants and organizations with kitchens in Centre County, who create different wing sauces and go head-to-head in a bracket style competition to crown the best wings of the summer. 

Each Thursday this summer through Aug. 8, WingFest attendees will judge competitors to determine who will advance to the next round. 

When WingFest first began, it was held on the back patio of Tussey Mountain resort’s ski lodge. Now, the event is held in the amphitheater at the base of Tussey’s two ski slopes. 

Though WingFest is a Centre County tradition, the event has changed since its start. 

“We have more than just wings. There’s other food vendors,” said Aaron Weyman, director of marketing and recreation at Tussey Mountain. “It’s just a really cool outdoor live show that combines music and food and beer and other drinks, and it’s really affordable.”

The event’s competitors vary from restaurants in downtown State College to organizations that have kitchens. 

“So, we have a traveling trophy that, right now, is in the possession of Juniper Village. They won the overall wing contest last year,” Weyman said. 

Juniper Village at Brookline is not a restaurant; it is an independent living and personal care community in State College. Still, they used their kitchen to develop a wing sauce that ended up leaving mouths watering last year.

Juniper Village will return this year to defend their title. As the winner, they received a trophy, which Weyman compares to the Stanley Cup. Along with this, the winners of each round receive a plaque. 

Organizations that do not usually create wings still participate but put their own little twist on the sauce they create. 

“The (Ye Olde College Diner) — that is not in business anymore — they’ve always done a grilled stickies wing,” Weyman said. 

Live music is also one of WingFest’s big attractions. Both local and national touring bands will be in attendance this year to entertain guests while they enjoy their wings. 

“We try to book some nationally touring, award-winning tribute bands that play music we feel our audience would enjoy to see and hear,” Weyman said. 

Some bands that will be in attendance this year are Velveeta, Pure Cane Sugar, a Fleetwood Mac tribute band, a Van Halen tribute band and many more. 

The festival will have a few other local vendors that will not be serving wings, such as Rita’s Ice, Rosie’s Pierogies and Packer’s Concessions. 

Attendees can also enjoy a cold beer. To help avoid lines and shorten wait times, Weyman and his team added a second beer trailer this year. 

WingFest is a family friendly event, with something for all ages to enjoy.

Admission is $10 for anyone 17 or older, $5 for youth aged 7 to 16 and free for anyone 6 and under. Once inside, tickets can be purchased for $1 each, which can be used to purchase wings, drinks or other items. Tickets must be purchased with cash.

“It’s an event that we’re very proud of, and we’re proud to keep it affordable and accessible for people in our little community here,” Weyman said. 

WingFest kicks off the season from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on June 13. Competitors for the opening week are scheduled to include The Blonde Bistro, Cafe 210 West, Centre Street Grille and The Twisted Whisk.

On stage, the JR Mangan Band featuring Veronica Auger will be followed by Van Halen tribute Completely Unchained.

For the full summer lineup of wing competitors and music, visit tusseymountain.com/wingfest.