In the 2001 movie Osmosis Jones, Bill Murray's character dreams of attending the National Buffalo Wing Festival. Although that made for an amusing plot point, there was a problem: at the time, no such festival existed. When Buffalo native Drew Cerza heard about this oversight, he realized that it was a wrong that needed righting. He threw his inaugural festival that same year, and the rest is meaty, sauce-slathered history. Now, every Labor Day weekend, wing fans flock to Buffalo, and they usually bring their appetites to chow through one million-plus wings over the duration of the festival.
At each festival, restaurant representatives travel to Coca-Cola Field to share their tastiest, hottest sauces with festivalgoers. A select group of buffalo wing purists participate in the festival's traditional and creative sauce competitions, whipping up sauces onstage before serving their concoctions to a panel of local celebrity judges. The sauce-off is one of the festival's many contests, which also include wing eating competitions and bobbing for wings in a pool of blue cheese.
Aside from the many wing-based events, the festival features entertainment ranging from live music to live quiz shows. In 2006, the festival even hosted a wedding, fulfilling every father's fantasy of grabbing a snack as he accompanies his daughter down the aisle.
Despite spending most of their 125-plus-year history as a minor-league organization, the Bisons were a major-league club from 1879 to 1885. All told, nearly 3,000 players and managers have donned the Bisons uniform, including 20 who have been immortalized in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Currently, the Bisons compete every summer for an International League title, as well as the Thruway Cup—a regional and bragging-rights-based trophy chased by the Bisons, the Rochester Red Wings, and the Syracuse Chiefs. The Bisons have played half of their games since 1988 at Coca-Cola Field, which boasts the largest video board in the minors and an infield kept moist by hoses that spray water and not the soda that the field’s name would suggest.