Dining With Denise Neil

Chicken wing event so popular last year, arena isn’t changing a thing

Last year, restaurants served lots of outside-the-box chicken wings at Wingapalooza.
Last year, restaurants served lots of outside-the-box chicken wings at Wingapalooza. Courtesy photo

After last year’s Wichita Wingapalooza, a first-time chicken wing-eating event offered by Intrust Bank Arena, organizers talked about what they would need to change before trying it again.

The answer: not much.

Last August’s event drew a sellout crowd of 2,000 people, who gnawed on wings prepared by 23 different restaurants. Each restaurant worked to prepare a unique, memorable wing, and offerings included Asian-inspired wings, Mexican-inspired wings and several classic Buffalo wings. Some were fried. Some were smoked. Some were coated in cheese.

“The overall feedback last year was so positive, both from the restaurants and all the fans and attendees, that we didn’t change very much,” said Christine Pileckas, director of sales and marketing for Intrust Bank Arena. “The template this year is pretty much the same.”

On Saturday afternoon, more than 20 restaurants will again convene on the floor inside the arena and prepare for the hungry masses. This year’s list of restaurants includes traditional wing vendors like Wingstop and Pizza Hut WingStreet. A few of last year’s big wing winners will be back, too, including people’s choice The Hungry Heart and people’s choice runners-up Wings & Things and River City Brewing Co.

Ticket holders on Saturday will find each participating restaurant set up at a booth around the perimeter of the arena floor. They can go from booth to booth, sampling as many wings as they want. Wingapalooza is an all-you-can-eat event.

They also can buy beer from a craft beer garden and listen to a live DJ spin tunes.

Some tickets may be available at the door, but last year, late-comers were turned away, Pileckas said. The best bet is to get tickets in advance. (They’re $5 more than last year: $25 in advance and $30 at the door.) The arena will again cap attendance at 2,000 people.

The idea for Wingapalooza was borrowed last year from Tulsa’s BOK Center, which is managed by the same parent company, SMG. Tulsa came up with the idea three years ago, and it’s been a hit.

“If you’re a chicken wing fan, you get to come to one place and sample all of them,” Pileckas said. “Last year, the chefs and restaurants did a really good job of thinking outside the box, not just doing the standard chicken wing.”

Denise Neil: 316-268-6327, @deniseneil


What: An all-you-can-eat chicken wing event

When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday

Where: Intrust Bank Arena, 500 E. Waterman

How much: $25 in advance, $30 day of the event

Tickets: Available at www.selectaseat.com, by calling 316-755-7328, at the Intrust Bank Arena box office and at Select-A-Seat outlets

Information: www.intrustbankarena.com/wingapalooza

Participating restaurants: Delano BBQ, Oasis Lounge, Blarney Stone Pub, The Hungry Heart, Wingstop, Wings & Things, Pizza Hut WingStreet, TGI Fridays, Jayrods, Joe’s Oldtown Bar & Grill, Gianni Bacci’s, River City Brewing Co., BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Taste and See, Fox & Hound, Valerie’s Wings and Things, Emerson Biggins, The Hill Bar and Grill, Green Mill, The Regent, Savor, Logan’s Roadouse, Twin Peaks