By Arih Struger-Kalkman
Chicken wings, beer, music, and good clean family fun, that’s what Jeff McGuffin and the Board of Directors have been dreaming up over the last two years. “We are young professionals who want to do something and impact the community that we live in,” explained McGuffin, noting that the festival was set up as a not-for-profit organization, serving to spread awareness and provide support for Community Care.
“[They] supported us from the get-go, they’ve given us a lot of guidance and support, and they do so much in the community.”
The festival will be held August 13-14 at Lakeside Park in Port Dalhousie. McGuffin has ties to Port Dalhousie and the rowing scene, and lamented the area’s recent setbacks, including the loss of the piers, “it’s an underappreciated area […] we’re doing what we can to make Port Dalhousie relevant again.”
There are even environmental goals for the festival to reduce their carbon footprint. McGuffin said that for year one the plans involve limiting trash and increasing recyclables, but that will expand to other areas, such as transportation.
So far, the chicken wing vendors include heavyweights Kully’s, Wrigley’s, The Manhattan, Cat’s Caboose, Roberto’s Pizza, Romby’s, and Redline BBQ all competing to take home the title of Chicken Wing Champion (and the championship belt).
Local musicians will feature prominently in the festival. On Saturday, August 13, entertainment will include Amanda Parker, Everet Luciow, Majora, Stereo Sunrise, and XPrime. Sunday’s lineup will include Honest Frankie, Probable Fog, and Barbarosa. Performances by the Niagara Conservatory of Music will also be featured in the festival.
There’s a strong sense that Wing Fest is a special type of festival, run by the community and for the community. “I grew up in a small town of a thousand people – you know everyone’s name,” McGuffin explained. “This isn’t that large of a community to forget everyone’s name, and hopefully we can create an event to get people together so you have another opportunity to hang out with your neighbour – and support the community that you live in.”
When asked if he had anything to add, McGuffin replied “I’m looking forward to it.” I could not agree more.