Tuesday, September 27, 2011

TOP STORY >> Organizers want a record turnout

Jacksonville’s Wing Ding Festival is Saturday at Dupree Park. The event promises lots of fun, food, fishing and live music.

More than 30,000 people attended last year, while organizers are hoping to top that this year.

The sixth annual Leader Publishing World Championship Chicken Wing Cook-off will begin at 9 a.m. and end around 6 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

Today is the last day to register for the cookoff. Contact Matt Robinson by phone at 501-412-8055 or by e-mail at mattrobinson@arkansasleader.com.

The entry fee is $45 per team.

One of Wing Ding’s most popular events, the chicken wing cook-off draws wing-grilling afficionados and fanatics from all over.

Awards are given out for the chicken wing cook-off in four categories: People’s Choice, first place is $500 and a trophy; second place is $250 and a plaque; Judges’ Choice, first place is $250 and a trophy, and second place is $50 and a plaque; Showmanship, first place is trophy, and Most Creative Wing Sauce, first place is trophy.

All cooking must take place at the competition. Pre-cooked items will lead to a disqualification. Teams must provide their own tables, chairs, cooking utensils, cooking equipment, paper towels, 16-quart ice chest for wing storage, ice and trash bags. Canopies and umbrellas will be the team’s responsibility.

Judging takes place between 2 and 2:30 p.m. with winners being announced at 4 p.m. People’s Choice ballots include two wings from each team and will be available for $5 throughout the competition. Wing coupons will be sold for $2 for four wings at the Leader Publishing tent only. Teams are not permitted to sell directly to the public.

Teams may sell wings after the judging if they wish.

A showmanship trophy is awarded for best booth design, costumes, music and crowd participation.

Booth setup begins at noon Friday. Public displays and demonstrations are encouraged. Decorations are not mandatory, but chicken-inspired costuming is definitely a plus.

The 2010 defending champions, team Ooo-Fah, will use its teriyaki wings to defend against four newcomers.

First Electric, Crain Ford of Jacksonville, PH Wangs and Black Hound BBQ have assembled teams and hope to take bragging rights and $500 from Ooo-Fah.

In other events, the Major League Wing-Eating Championship will return this year. Visits by two national eating champions are also on tap.

Prize payouts are $1,500 for first place, $750 for second, $500 for third and $250 for fourth.

Several other exciting Wing Ding events are slated.

Ashland Specialty Chemical will host a fishing derby at 7:30 a.m. at Dupree Lake. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will stock the lake for the derby. Prizes will be awarded hourly for the biggest and the smallest fish. A grand prize will be awarded at noon for biggest fish and for the most weight caught.

Registration is free and will take place at the west side of the lake.

There will also be a Jacksonville Gym Stage and Chili’s of Jacksonville’s Major League Eating Competition at the Jacksonville A&P stage; Cash’s Corner Children’s area, paddleboat rides and more.

First Electric Cooperative Poultry Paratroopers assembly will begin at 9 a.m. with jumps beginning at 10 a.m. Jumps will take place every hour until 3 p.m.

First-place awards will be given in the following two categories: longest drop time and closest to the landing pad.

The Central Arkansas Volleyball Association will host an all-day draw tournament on a grass field. Registration fee is $10. Registration is at 8:30 a.m. with play beginning at 9. Proceeds benefit Central Arkansas Volleyball Association. Top two team members receive Wing Ding shirts.

Exit One Eleven, a country band from Little Rock, is scheduled to perform.

For more information about Wing Ding, visit www.jacksonville-arkansas.com.

Schedule of Events


7:30 a.m. to noon fishing derby

7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Wing Ding 5K

9 a.m. Volleyball tournament

9 a.m. to 6 p.m. CenturyLink food court

9 a.m. to 6 p.m. children’s games at First Arkansas Bank and Trust Cash’s Corner

9 a.m. to 6 p.m. North Metro Medical Center’s heart tent

9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Leader’s chicken-wing cookoff

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. First Electric’s poultry paratroopers contest

Noon Chili’s chicken-wing eating contest

Noon to 6 p.m. paddleboat rides