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.
As the centrepiece of a sprawling 32-acre site, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum preserves Canada's rich baseball heritage while leading visitors around the base paths of the game's history. In one room, fans ogle displays dedicated solely to the Expos and Blue Jays, and in another, artifacts from across the globe trap eyes in a pickle between vintage photos and authentic uniforms. The consistently rotated lineup of displays also saves a spot for current Canadian ballplayers, as well as for autographed Babe Ruth mementos that, despite their age, still retain their new hotdog smell.
Each year, the Hall of Fame adds new members to a select group of inductees, which currently includes 93 individuals and ranges from pro ballplayers and amateurs to umpires and trainers. In 2012 alone, the museum and its surrounding ball fields will play host to more than 450 events, highlighted by training clinics and minor league games. The 10th annual Kids on Deck summer camp also calls the site home, giving youngsters aged 8–14 the chance to perfect such vital skills as bunting and spitting a sunflower seed at least 10 feet.
Despite spending most of their 125-plus-year history as a minor-league organization, the Bisons began play as a major-league club from 1879–85. 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 done half of their competing 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 soda as the field’s name would suggest.
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.
Founded by two York Region teachers in 2013, Rouge Valley Sports Camp fosters independence, emphasizes teamwork, and encourages critical thinking. But campers may not even realize they're acquiring those skills, since they'll be too busy playing basketball, baseball, soccer, or another sport. The camp also offers wilderness training and arts-and-crafts time. Indeed, RVSC's main program comes stocked with a diverse roster of activities. But the camp also offers activity-specific programs, with plans to expand into such areas as archery, rock climbing, and music in the future.
Cheer on the first-place Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, the New York Yankees' Triple-A affiliate and mahjong partners, as they seek to trounce their in-state rivals, the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs. The Yankees get their run support from catcher Jesus Montero, currently batting .327, and incisive pitching from right-hander David Phelps—whose fastball has been known to punch small holes into the space-time continuum—helping him maintain a miniscule 3.19 ERA through 42 innings pitched. Ballgame attendees wash down their hot dog with a 22-ounce Pepsi product (a $6 value) while sporting a new, limited-edition SWBY Yankees T-shirt (an $11 value) and cap (an $18 value) with which to catch foul balls or small meteors from 300-level seats (a $10 value). Stick around after the last out has been recorded for a dazzling postgame display of fireworks.