Wingfest to Feature New .05K Chicken Run

Staff Writer

Beer, chicken wings, live music and a little something new. That’s what can be expected at this years Midwest Athletic Conference (MAC) Wingfest at the New Bremen American Legion on Saturday.
Going on its 12th year, the Wingfest — hosted by the Sons of the American Legion — is hoping to raise money as well as give restaurants and caterers a chance to show off their product.
The competition will feature nine establishments in the MAC with local coaches who have won a state title, state runner-up or were in the final four in the last year acting as the official taste testers and judges for the competition.
There are several categories for the judges to hand out awards to including best hot wing, specialty wing and the coveted People’s Choice.
“We have a little competition and it is a good opportunity for the businesses or restaurants to get their name out there,” said Sons of the American Legion Commander Chris Schwartz. “We also raise money that goes toward different types of charities that we donate to … we do some local scholarships. Often times we’ll donate to somebody in need. This year I don’t know that we have anybody specifically that we’re donating to but we’ll give the money toward different scholarships throughout the year.”
There is a $3 charge to get into the event Schwartz said, which gets each participant three tickets to sample wings — one ticket per wing. For an additional dollar, guests can purchase more tickets to sample for wings. The amount of wings and from where they sample is completely up to the guest. Tickets will be handed over at each station as a transaction for the wing.
New this year, member of the Sons of the American Legion decided to add a fun run of sorts, but smaller — much smaller.
“We’re also doing a .05K Chicken Run, which happens after the wings are served,” Schwartz said. “So we’ll have an intermission after dinner and we’ll have live entertainment. ... It’s not a 5K we’re just doing a .05K.
“It’s basically from outside of the building into the Legion. It includes two beers — you get one beer at the halfway point and then you get another beer at the bar.”
A total of 50 meters will be ran by those who signed up before April 1. A t-shirt is included with the run, on top of the beer.
“We just thought it was kind of a fun thing to do. We’re really trying to get an activity to do when the dinner portion is over and the band is setting up,” he explained. “A lot of people end up leaving afterwards, so we’re trying to get an idea and we didn’t think that there would be a large crowd that would want to do a 5K so we thought it would be kind of funny to do a .05K. It’s just a fun thing to do and you get a T-shirt.”
The chicken run charged $15 for people to sign up and Schwartz noted that about 50 people registered to be a part of the race.
Live entertainment will be provided by The Hubie Ashcraft Band out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. According to their website, Ashcraft performs a mix of rock, Americana and country music. Ashcraft’s career has led him to work with Grammy Award winning artists and other legendary musicians. Ashcraft’s website notes that he is inspired by influential artists such as Van Morrison, Tom Petty, John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson.
With the money going toward a good cause, Schwartz said they hope to do well this year, and want to encourage people to come out and give the event a shot. He said that on a good year, the group can raise about $5,000 that they spread around the help community.
“We’re certainly excited for the event and hopefully we can get a lot of people to come out,” Schwartz said.
Doors open at 4 p.m. with the wing tasting until supplies run out. From 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., happy hour and a half will start where guests can purchase two beers with the third one free. At 7 p.m., the .05K chicken run will begin. At 7:30 p.m., The Hubie Ashcraft Band will take the stage and perform until midnight.
The American Legion is located at 6458 state Route 66 in New Bremen.