More than a dozen local restaurants participated in the 22nd annual Wing Fling at Wahconah Park.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Friend's Grille took home the People's Choice Award at the 22nd annual Wing Fling.
The contest was revamped this year after Downtown Pittsfield Inc. took the event over from the Pittsfield Family YMCA. Nearly a thousand people filled Wahconah Park on Saturday night to dine on chicken wings from more than a dozen local restaurants.
Friend's took home the People's Choice title won last year by wings favorite Old Forge, which did not enter this year. Friend's also finished third in the best original wing category.
Krispy Cone won the Best Original Award, with One West at the Crowne Plaza coming in second. Zucchini's Restaurant won the best traditional wings — as it did last year — while newcomer Adams Ale House came in second and Garden Grille and Tavern in the Berkshire Mall, third.
The Garden also won in the best hot wing category (last year's winner Halpin's Grub and Grog is closed), with Port Smitts and Flavours of Malasysia coming in second and third, respectively. Flavours won both ribs categories, original and barbecue.
"We had a lot of downtown restaurants participating that haven't in the past," said Pamela Tobin, executive director of Downtown Pittsfield.
For years, the event was held at Berkshire Community College as a fundraiser for the YMCA. The YMCA felt the fundraiser didn't fit its mission statement and gave the event to Downtown Pittsfield. Ten percent of the money raised by the event will go to the YMCA while the rest will go to Downtown Pittsfield.
Downtown Pittsfield moved the event to Wahconah Park, where Tobin said the event was able to reach a wider demographic.
"All around, it is a great place to have an event," Tobin said.
A stage was set up in centerfield and the vendors lined the outside of the infield, providing the outfield space for attendees to congregate. The bands Static and Whiskey City performed while radio station Live 95.9 held a contest challenging attendee to sling-shot a rubber chicken into a makeshift house.
"It was smooth," Tobin said of the event, but acknowledged it was a "monster" for planning.