The 10th anniversary of the largest Chicken Wing Festival in the world is coming to Derby this weekend

The photo is taken from above a Bustler Market where hundreds of people met eat chicken wings and drink and have fun.
People come to the Bustler Market to enjoy wings from ten vendors. Photo: Wing Fest.

For the first time, a Derby trader will compete for the coveted ‘best chicken wings’ award at the 10th anniversary of Wing Fest.

This is the third year that the well-known Chicken Wing Festival will come to Derby and take place at the Bustler Market on the 17th, 18th and 19th of May.

This year will be special because the festival celebrates its 10th anniversary from its start in 2014.

The organiser of the Wing Fest, Richard Thacker (40), started the event in a pub car park in East London managing to get seven traders to participate and 300 people attended.

The number of visitors has grown over the years to an astonishing 10,000 people when the Wing Fest took place at the Olympic Park at London stadium, which included live music, axe throwing and eating competitions.

The Wing Fest then spread to Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, and Derby and this year it will be in Norwich and Sheffield for the first time.

“So, it is the 10th anniversary and in total, we will see 50,000 people around the country and probably get through about a million chicken wings,” said Richard.

To be at the event you need to buy a ticket for one of the four sessions, which could see up to 4000 people to attend over the weekend.

Friday and Saturday evening sessions are only for adults, but Saturday and Sunday afternoon sessions allow children accompanied by adults to come and if your child is under 12 years old and is accompanied by an adult they get a free ticket.

Everybody receives a free Wing Fest trucker hat and can participate in axe-throwing and eating competitions.

Visitors can attend two eating competitions:

The Flying Goose eating competition – 15 people compete to see who can eat 10 wings the fastest.

The Lava Wing Challenge is the hottest in the UK (only for adults) – who finishes 8 chicken wings the fastest and waits for one minute without wiping their mouth or drinking any liquid.

Woman has dirty fingers and mouth attending one of the eating competitions.
A woman is competing and gets her hands and mouth dirty during one of the eating competitions. Photo: Wing Fest.

Richard hopes to promote local Midlands traders but also aims to bring London traders to the Midlands and let people from Derby try different types of flavours.

People have a choice to vote for the winner by scanning a QR code and a decision on the People’s and Judges’ Choice Award will be announced, which can boost a business from a street food vendor to having a restaurant and getting investments.

This year’s first Derby competitor will be the BOA restaurant, which opened in December of 2023.

His good friend offered him his container to participate in the Wing Fest and he’s excited to be involved.

“It is a good opportunity and more people can get to know about BOA.”

BOA chose to compete with the wild flavour of wings that are Asian-inspired and consist of Szechuan-based sauce that is quite spicy and sweet with a white miso ranch.

Their second dish will be Gochujang BBQ wings with hot honey ranch which they have been using in their pizza business for three years.

We wish all the competitors all the best of luck and hope to see you there with a smile on your face and a full belly.