By Barbara Tetreault
BERLIN — Whether you like your chicken wings hot, spicy, teriyaki or sweet and sour, there is sure to be a recipe to suit your taste buds at the WingZilla Chicken Wing Cook-off this Saturday.
Held again at Service Credit Union Heritage Park in Berlin, WingZilla also features a Luau ATV poker run, a horseshoe tournament, kid games, hot wings eating contest, a cornhole tournament, beer tent and live music.
“It’s a great end of the summer family bash,” said Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Paula Kinney.
Kinney said 1,880 pounds of chicken wings were consumed last year. This year, nine different contestants will be vying for bragging rights with some submitting multiple entries.
Wings will be served starting at noon with judging taking place at 5 p.m. Kinney said a panel of judges, whose identities are not released in advance, will rate the wings on appearance, texture, taste, and originality. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three winners. There will also be a people’s choice winner as well as a kid’s choice winner, selected by the public with voting throughout the day.
Once the judging is over, the Killa-Zilla Hot Wings eating contest will take place. Five contestants will be selected from those that sign up for the event. Bill Maddelena will again be preparing the wings and they are so hot, contestants will be required to sign a liability waiver and wear eye protection. The winner will receive a gift basket loaded with fabulous prizes.
The Berlin Fire Department Local 1088 is sponsoring an Hawaiian theme Luau ATV Poker Run with the proceeds going to Operation Warm, which provides warm coats and clothing to children in the Androscoggin Valley. Registration runs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the park and the riders must return by 2 p.m. There is a fee of $20 per hands and there is no limit on the number of hands per person. Prizes will be awarded to the top three best-ranked poker hands as well as the worst hand, and best themed rider. Prizes will also be awarded throughout the poker run.
New this year is a “WingZilla’s Got Talent Show” with open mic on the stage from noon until 3 p.m. People are invited to show off their talent — whether it is a great singing voice or a comic routine.
A new event this year for the kids is a Power Wheels obstacle course from noon until 3 p.m. Kids can use one of the chamber’s two power wheels or bring their own.
The blind draw horseshoe tournament gets underway at 10 a.m. Registration is $10 with cash prizes to the wining teams.
Registration for the cornhole tournament will run from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. with a fee of $20 per team of two. The tournament will get underway at noon with cash prizes based on the number of participants.
To help wash down all the wings, there is the ever popular beer tent which opens at noon and runs through the evening.
Capping off the festival, the band Kilcollins will perform from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“It’s a really, really good band,” Kinney promised, saying she booked it two years in advance to get it to perform this year.
Kinney stressed that there is no admission to attend WingZilla at the park. It is sponsored this year by White Mountain Distributors and Capone Iron. For more information call (603) 752-6060.