Chicago’s Best WingFest Announces Hosts, Band and Vendors

The 19th Annual WingFest announces 2018 Emmy Award winning co-hosts Elliott Bambrough, Host of Chicago’s Best on WGN and Samantha Thomas, Host of SmallTALK with Samantha. Chicago’s Best WingFest takes place on May 6 from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. at UIC Pavilion (525 S. Racine Ave.) for the second year in a row to accommodate the continued growth of one of the nation’s longest running festivals.

“Let’s wear spilled hot sauce on our shirts as a badge of honor, and do this fest right,” says Elliott Bambrough, three-time Emmy Award winning Host of Chicago’s Best on WGN. “I’m a die-hard wing enthusiast. I have attended WingFest the last four years, so I am thrilled to be emceeing the event this year.”

More than 3,000 chicken wing enthusiasts “flock” to the event, serving 9,000-plus pounds of wings each year from over 30 restaurants for the annual spring event. Each year, the festival has returning champions and new competitors ready to win “Best of Fest.” Last year’s newcomer, Half Day Brewing won Best of Fest, while Gators Wing Shack holds four championships and the record for the most “Best of Fest” titles. In addition, the famous event hosts an annual Wing Eating Competition to see who can eat a dozen of wings the fastest, earning the “Lady” or “Lord of the Wings” and receiving WingFest swag and bragging rights.

“I’m thrilled to be adding my own flavor and hosting one of my favorite Chicago events,” says Samantha Thomas, Chicago-native, Emmy Award winning journalist and host of SmallTALK with Samantha. “Let’s cheers our wings and make this the best WingFest yet!”

General Admission tickets cost $50 and include admission, all-you-can-eat wings and access to the day’s entertainment, including games, live music, photo opportunities and eating contests. VIP tickets cost $100 and include all of the above, plus access to VIP balconies sponsored by Hooters, seven drink tickets, unlimited Hooters wings and a fabulous SWAG bag. Grab tickets early, as this annual event sells out every year!

Participating restaurants currently include Half Day Brewing Co., Butch McGuire’s,  Howells & Hood, Kitty O’Sheas, Son of A Butcher, Buffalo Wings & Rings, MQ’s Golf Dome, Paisans, The HotWing Joint, Tap House Grill, Mahoney’s Pub & Grille, Q’s Tips & Wings, Overtime Sports Bar & Grill, The Irish Oak, Distilled Chicago, Bounce, Boulevard, Rack House Kitchen & Tavern, Lockdown Bar & Grill, Lottie’s, Publican Anker, Wild Wings & Slots, Maize & Mash, Concoran’s Grill & Pub, Park Tavern, and Estrella Negra.

The benefiting charities will be the Illinois Restaurant Association, Division Street Merchants Association, and Picking Me Foundation.

Sponsors include Lodge Management Group, Sysco, Anheuser-Busch, Goose Island, Hooters, Tabasco, and Red Bull.

“We’re honored to be working with Elliott and Samantha for this year’s WingFest,” said Lyn McKeaney, owner of the festival’s production and management company, Lodge Management Group, Entertainment Enterprises. “Each year, the event continues to gain more interest and the restaurants are increasing their culinary creativity.”

To purchase tickets, visit