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Wing Fest 2012 rocks the fairground

Three-year-old Anabelle Brewer enjoys a spicy chicken wing while celebrating St. Patrick’s Day wearing a green shamrock-print dress and a colorful face painting during the second annual Albany Wing Fest at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds Saturday.

Three-year-old Anabelle Brewer enjoys a spicy chicken wing while celebrating St. Patrick’s Day wearing a green shamrock-print dress and a colorful face painting during the second annual Albany Wing Fest at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds Saturday.

ALBANY -- The line at Tay Wright's wings trailer had been steady all day. Then Tay's Wings won the Albany Wing Fest's Best Mild Wings category and the line increased. He later won Best Hot Wings and the line multiplied again.

All of which was perfectly fine with Tay Wright.

When the grill smoke cleared, Tay's Wing's took home three of four Best Wings trophies at Saturday's Wing Fest 2012 at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds ... not bad for a little Wing joint off of South Mock Road.

"When you win it always helps with the lines," Wright said. "My wings are all lightly breaded. I don't do them naked wings. The breading helps hold the sauce and I also marinate them overnight. That combination makes for better wings."

Wright, who has been dishing up his wings for the past five years, bought a serving trailer last year and plans on taking his show on the road soon.

"Oh, yeah, I'm going to go to some other competitions," He said. "I'm just waiting on the right ones."

Memphis Style Wings out of Memphis, Tenn., prevented Tay's complete sweep, while winning the Most Creative Wings category with ranch-style wings sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Professional wrestler Dab Savage, WFXL anchor Romney Smith and WALB anchor Ben Roberts were the contest judges.

Event organizer Rick Schneider was pleased with the weather, the turnout, vendors and contestants.

"I haven't seen the gate numbers, but the folks up there told me it looks like we are running at twice the number of tickets sold from last year," Schneider said. "We have around 45 vendors and around 12 to 14 wings competitors. I am very happy with they was things have gone. It seems that everybody is having a good time."

The Bo Henry Band, Highway 55 and Relapse provided the toe-tapping musical entertainment, delighting the crowd.

Another happy group was the Cancer Coalition of South Georgia, which covers 32 counties in the area and benefited financially from the event.

"We are very thankful to be the beneficiaries of part of the proceeds from the Wing Fest," Cancer Coalition Marketing and Community Specialist Emily Jorgenson said. "We certainly appreciate any publicity and financial support we can get."

Schneider is already planning next year's event.

"Next year we plan on having more rides to make the Wing Fest more kid-friendly," Schneider said, "but I really can't complain about a thing right now."