Summer’s right around the corner and that means lots of festivals and fun on Peoria’s Riverfront. The first festival to kick it all off happened last Sunday and it was the first annual Peoria WingFest! Tickets sold out quickly for this event but luckily I scored one and so it’s off we go as we surpass the original twelve weeks of wings tour by a week!
Here we are at Festival Park located on Peoria’s Riverfront, right off the bat I see a familiar face, that’s Scott from WWCT, we met him when we were guests on Lunch With Dani. Great to see him again and then Gail and Mike checked us in with Rico photobombing the picture with a chicken wing! Mike is involved with a group called, Take The Guns From The Sons and you can check out a video he made right here: Take The Guns From The Sons.
It’s a little overcast and kind of chilly, but there’s a good crowd here for this festival of wings!
Jen came up and said hi and said she’s a regular and loyal MBIP reader which is always nice to hear. Then I ran into two familiar faces, that’s Mick, the executive chef at The Country Club BBQ and Loren who owns the Peacock Pub in Bartonville. Next we met Amber who’s a director of marketing and promotions at WWCT which is one of the sponsors of the Peoria WingFest and last in this series of photos is the festival’s official winged mascot in all of his chicken glory. Hey, he’s still got his wings intact...he should consider himself lucky!
You can’t have a chicken wing festival without beer and here’s the Budweiser beer truck over here. That’s Rosemary serving up the cold cans of Budweiser and I met Nick, Patrick, Marc and Bruce nearby. Most of you probably have heard Marc Alghini on WWCT and he’s the host for the event today. As you can see on the menu below, in addition to Budweiser, they have several craft beers and one of the sponsors of this event Lexus of Peoria and speaking of Lexus...
The lines were long, but they moved fast. Here’s some of the vendors at the festival: The Fieldhouse, Oliver’s, Kenny’s Westside Pub, Crusesns, Good Fellas, Country Club BBQ, Hickory River Smokehouse, Peacock’s Pub, A World Of Wings, Nick ‘N’ Willy’s, HyVee, First & Home and the WWCT Tent.
The band playing the event was 3 and A Half Men. They did a great job and put on a wonderful show.
As I traveled around I ran into Julie who I hadn’t seen in years and it was great to see her and catch up! Below is another Julie on the right with Carissa from the Oliver’s tent and they served me up the chicken wing below them, it was delicious! That’s Mike serving up a wing from World of Wings and there’s a lot of wings over at the Crusen’s tent. My notes are garbled at this point, but I believe that’s Kristin, Clay and Chelsea manning the Crusen’s tent and below this Clay and Wayne. Nancy came up and said hello and told me she enjoys reading MBIP, which we all know by now I love to hear!
Next I stopped by Kenny’s Westside Pub’s tent and he and Cramer had already sold out of all of their wings, their menu is below them and they featured the spicy peanut butter wings that made their debut on our first chicken wing tour here on MBIP. Next stop was the Country Club BBQ tent and Mick served up a wonderful BBQ chicken wing that had bits of bacon on it! It was so good, how can you lose with bacon on a chicken wing? Tammi and Steve were enjoying the Country Club’s wings over here on the sidewalk. Nea and Allegra were having a good time and had just gotten wings from Good Fellas, so I tried a couple from there and they were smoky and delicious! Then I ran into Diana who was with her daughter Natalie and Natalie’s husband, Jamie. Diana runs the facecrack pages, Peoria Eats, Peoria Shops and Peoria Plays. She shares all kinds of local updates and you should follow her pages for constant updates and news. Below them is a vat of wings from Country Club BBQ and below that one of the most important things you can have at a wingfest, paper towels!
I ran into Matt Hume which is fitting because we last saw him when we went to Rumsberger’s Wings on our eighth week of this chicken wing tour, great to see him again! Next stop was the Locker Room tent where Lucy and Tara served us up some wings. Then I stopped at First & Home and after I got two of their wings, I took a picture of this table and they invited me to join them so I did and we had a nice conversation and it was great to meet all of them! From the left clockwise they are: Dawn, Dan, Jill G., Dave, Chad and Jill L. This is one of the things I love about doing this blog is meeting fun people like them! Thanks for inviting me to your table!
And now for the awards! Marc Alghini is going to announce the winners and Amber is in charge of handing out the awards. Oliver’s won for the traditional category, and then Sean and Cramer accepted the award for their spicy peanut butter wings which won the best exotic wings category from Kenny’s Westside Pub, Mike accepted the honors for the hottest wings category from World of Wings and Loren and Donnie from Peacock’s Pub took the stage to accept their best in show award. Congratulations to all the winners!
Andy Abeyta was out on the grounds taking pictures for the PJ Star. You can check those out right here.
And as the day wears on, the fryers and the bowls all empty out.
The tables are empty...
And there’s just a few cups of hot sauce and an empty bottle of beer remaining from the first annual Peoria WingFest. There’s only one thing left to do at a time like this...
And that’s head over to the riverfront location of Emack & Bolio’s for a little ice cream to top the day off! That’s Jim and Rhea behind the counter and it was nice to see them. Rumor has it that Tim Hennessey was passed out in the basement, but we have no real proof of that, so I'm not going to dwell on it. That was a wonderful Peoria WingFest and I can’t wait for next year’s! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
Related Posts: Twelve More Weeks Of Wings @ The Publik House, The River Roadhouse, Castaways Bar & Grill, Kelleher’s Irish Pub & Eatery, Rumberger’s Wings & More, The Fieldhouse Bar & Grill, Peacock’s Pub, Kep’s Sports Bar & Grill, T-N-T’s Sports Bar & Grill, Babes On Plum, Donnelly’s Irish Pub and Schooners.