PITTSFIELD -- Hot wings, twice the live music and a rubber chicken toss highlight a revamped Wing Fling that returns Saturday under new management and at a new location.
The popular fundraiser, featuring 24 area restaurants vying to see who has the Berkshires' best chicken wings and ribs, will be held from 6 to 11 p.m. at Wahconah Park. The annual competition -- rain or shine -- is for those at least 21 years old.
The Pittsfield Family YMCA, the which established the event in 1991, announced in March that it had relinquished sponsorship of the popular wing-fest to Downtown Pittsfield Inc. YMCA officials say the Wing Fling had become too time-consuming to plan, hindering its mission of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
Downtown Pittsfield has decided to move Wing Fling from Berkshire Community College to Wahconah Park to boost participation in the event, according to Pam Tobin, executive director of the business-based group.
"We are excited about the number of participating downtown restaurants joining us for the first time as well as new Berkshire County restaurants," she said.
Wahconah Park's summer tenant, the Pittsfield Suns, is thrilled to help organizers stage the popular event, according to Kevin McGuire, general manager of the minor league baseball team.
"When you have such a great event of 21 years, you can easily promote it," McGuire said. "We would be happy to see it here on an annual basis."
The 2013 edition of Wing Fling also features more live entertainment than in past years and a new contest called "Wing Fling-Fling" that gives people a chance to win valuable prizes.
"People will get to put a rubber chicken in a slingshot aimed at a chicken coop," Tobin said.
The nonprofit YMCA will still benefit from the fundraiser, receiving 10 percent of the net proceeds, with the rest of the money going toward programming and initiatives of Downtown Pittsfield.
Last year, Wing Fling netted the YMCA $11,000 for its scholarship program which provides financial assistance for memberships, camps, programs and other activities. YMCA Executive Director Randy Kinnas says his staff and volunteers were going to focus on other fundraising methods to replace the reduced revenue from the Wing Fling.
In addition to some of the hottest and most original chicken wings and ribs around, Wing Fling includes beer for purchase and live musical performances from Whisky City and Static.
Tobin says local celebrities will be on hand to judge the categories such as hottest and most original wings.
To reach Dick Lindsay:
or (413) 496-6233.
What: Wing Fling
When: 6-11 p.m. Saturday
Where: Wahconah Park, Pittsfield.
Tickets: Advance tickets $20/person; $25 day of event.
Tickets available at Wahconah Park, by calling Downtown Pittsfield Inc. at 413-443-6501 or online at www.downtownpittsfield.com.