GENESEO – The Association for the Preservation of Geneseo (APOG) scored a smashing success with its first annual Wingfest and wing eating contest, attracting SUNY students, professors and local residents alike to the Village Park on Saturday. Wing enthusiasts from across the County came out to eat and vote on the best wings from three local restaurants and two SUNY Geneseo dining halls.
The idea for a chicken wing festival and eating contest to benefit was hatched in a SUNY Geneseo classroom by three students with a collective vision to raise money for APOG. Beverly Hirschmann, 20, Erika Portellizo, 20, and Sarah Christ, 22, said that they brainstormed fundraiser ideas in an exercise for their public relations class, and that their idea grew into a practical reality.
“We were in a PR class, and our professor Dr. Mohan set us up with APOG to develop a fundraiser idea,” said Hirschmann. “We finally decided on wings because it appeals to students.”
The Village Tavern won the contest for best wings. Word quickly got around, and dozens of people showed up at the Tavern on Saturday to have a taste of the winning wings.
Many of APOG’s diverse volunteers came out to staff the event and show support for their organization. Proceeds went to their most ambitious undertaking, “Save the Wall.” APOG volunteers said that the project plans to repair the iconic stone wall that encloses the Wadsworth homestead, bit by bit, every Saturday morning for the next six years.
“We’re laying mortar between the blocks for now,” said Myrtle Merritt, 89, a longtime APOG volunteer and highly distinguished retired professor at SUNY Geneseo. “When they get to Elm Street, it’s stacked, not mortared, so they expect that to go fast. The projection is six years, and the materials are expensive.”
PHOTO CAPTIONS: Top- Nine brave souls, including yours truly, tested their mettle in the first annual Wingfest chicken wing eating contest.
Bottom- Geneseo Mayor Richard Hatheway bites into a particularly tender chicken wing at Wingfest 2014.