PITTSFIELD -- The Pittsfield Family YMCA has relinquished the sponsorship of its popular Wing Fling fundraiser to another city organization in order to keep the event alive and give itself more time to serve the community.
Downtown Pittsfield Inc. has agreed to assume the sponsorship of the annual competition, where area restaurants compete to determine who has the best tasting chicken wings in the Berkshires.
The event will now primarily be a fundraiser for Downtown Pittsfield Inc., but the Pittsfield Family YMCA will continue to receive 10 percent of the net profits for at least the next four years, according to officials of both entities.
This year's Wing Fling has been tentatively scheduled for June 29, according to Downtown Pittsfield Inc.'s Executive Director Pam Tobin.
"It's a great fit for us," Tobin said. "A chance to promote the downtown restaurants and others who have participated for the past 21 years."
Randy Kinnas, the CEO and executive director of the Pittsfield Family YMCA, is glad the event has found a new sponsor.
"I consider the Wing Fling the start of summer around here," Kinnas said of the event, which usually takes place in June. "So to let it go completely would be irresponsible."
Since 1992, the Wing Fling has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the YMCA's scholarship program, which provides financial assistance for memberships, camps, programs and other activities.
The competition netted the
On average, Kinnas said, he has spent 20 hours a week planning the Wing Fling, with the preparation beginning in February. He said those hours would be better spent both educating and promoting the YMCA's full range of programs and services.
"People think we're just a gym and swim," he said.
In addition to athletic facilities, the North Street organization also offers after-school and senior citizen programs, infant/toddler day care and affordable housing.
The YMCA plans on reaching out to the public to replace the revenue it received from the Wing Fling.
"We're going to focus on our general scholarship fund and reach out to the community," Kinnas said.
To reach Dick Lindsay:
or (413) 496-6233.