The community of Elgin is just days away from a new event to celebrate the best of summer.
The first-ever ‘Wing Ding’ celebration will be held at the Elgin City Park on Saturday, July 30.
Sponsored by the Elgin Community Club, the one-day event will feature plenty of recreation, good food and a relaxing atmosphere, something for persons of all ages.
Beginning at 3 p.m., there will be sand volleyball and horseshoes to take part in. The weather promises to be warm with temperatures above 90 degrees with plenty of sunshine. For the volleyball, anybody can show up and form a team there to compete. That should provide some interesting competition.
As for horseshoes, whoever wants to compete just needs to show up.
For persons who don’t want to ‘bump, set and spike,’ or don’t want to throw a ‘ringer,’ there will be extended swimming hours. The Elgin Swimming Pool normally closes at 5 p.m., but on Saturday the pool will not close until 9 p.m. for adults. Bathing suits are required for persons of all ages.
The main focus of the celebration will be a chicken wing cook-off.
Nearly 10 different varieties of chicken wings will be available to taste and enjoy.
“There will be BBQ varieties, some sweet & spicy, spicy and also some ‘hot’ varieties, something for everyone to savor and enjoy,” said club member Lynell Morgan. People will be given ballots so they can vote for their favorite wings.
Since this is the first year, she said chicken wings don’t need to be cooked on site. Each team will be responsible for preparing 10 pounds of wings for the competition. A cash prize will be awarded to the ‘people’s champion’.
Wings can be purchased in bulk at Dean’s Market. The wings must be ready to be served by 2:45 p.m. that day. A complete list of rules for the cook-off are available by contacting her at the Elgin Review office.
“The club had been looking for something different to do. Other communities have ribfests, steak cook-offs, etc. We wanted to offer something no one else was doing in the immediate area,” Morgan said.Chicken wings will be served to the public along with corn on the cob and calico beans, starting at 3 p.m. Tickets, available at the park that day, will be $1 per ticket. Chicken wings can be purchased with two tickets, corn and beans will each require one ticket.
“We’re keeping the costs down so everyone can afford it and enjoy it.”
To quench people’s thirst, there will be a beer garden, which will be located on the south side of the park on Oak Street. Also, pop will be available to be purchased. “We’re gratefult that the Elgin City Council agreed to allow a beer garden adjacent to the park,” she said. “We’re holding this event there to utilize many of the features of the park. We’ve got a great park and it’s ‘perfect’ for an event like this. Plenty of shade trees.”
Chicken wings have increased in popularity throughout the country over the past 20 years. The legend goes back to Buffalo, N.Y., were they were first prepared at the Anchor Bar by Teressa Belissimo. Upon the unannounced, late-night arrival of their son and several of his friends, she needed a fast and easy snack to present to her guests. It was then that she came up with the idea of deep frying chicken wings and tossing them in cayenne hot sauce.
The popularity of wings has since spread across the country.
Many restaurants and pubs offer weekly specials.