UNCW students bring Wing Fling to downtown Wilmington

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Held the last several years down in Carolina Beach, the annual Wing Fling is returning to Wilmington this year. More than 15 restaurants will vie for the 'Best Wing' title during the event at North Waterfront Park. Courtesy photo.
Held the last several years down in Carolina Beach, the annual Wing Fling is returning to Wilmington this year. More than 15 restaurants will vie for the ‘Best Wing’ title during the event at North Waterfront Park. Courtesy photo.

Break out your wet naps – the Wing Fling is returning to Wilmington.

Over the years, the 18th annual event has been held at a variety of spots across the area, most recently and consecutively down in Carolina Beach. Headed up each year by a UNC-Wilmington student group, Wing Fling is hitting downtown’s North Waterfront Park on Saturday, April 16.

Its return to Port City proper is thanks to the UNCW chapter of Pi Sigma Epsilon, a national fraternal organization for business majors, that has been an integral part of Wing Fling since its inception.

Bringing the popular event back to Wilmington for 2016 was a decision prompted by demand, member Laura Robertson said.

“We had interest from restaurants and people really seemed to want it to come back to Wilmington,” said Robertson, a junior pursuing a marketing degree. “We’ve really gotten a good response. It’s catching on on Facebook. It’s really blowing up, especially as we are getting nearer to the event.”

The Fling will feature 15 restaurants–including Kick Back Jack’s, Hell’s Kitchen, Slice of Life and The Reel Cafe–vying to walk home with “Best Wing” bragging rights. Judges and tasters will also decide on respective awards for their favorites.

The daylong competition, which runs from 1 to 6 p.m., will also feature live music from local reggae band Signal Fire, as well as Michigan-based alternative duo IAMDYNAMITE and Two Docs and a Box. And Cape Fear Sports has sponsored a game corner, which Robertson said will offer activities like life-size Foosball, corn hole and miniature golf to attendees of all ages.

Pi Sigma Epsilon will be manning the game corner and other stations during the event. It’s an experience Robertson, who is new this year to the fraternity, has found rewarding as she heads toward a probable career in promoting concerts and other entertainment happenings.

“It has been exciting to come in and be a part of all this,” she noted. “Cameron [School of Business] has been great, but Pi Sigma Epsilon is really what has given me the most opportunities to get involved with the professional business world; I get to experience it from a real-life perspective…and learn more directly from business professionals.”

While organizing a major event with a widespread draw is a great exercise for the budding business professional – and not a bad resume builder – it’s also important to Robertson and her fellow Pi Sigma Epsilons to use something like Wing Fling as a way to enhance their community.

The Fling will benefit paws4vets – a non-profit that pairs assistance dogs with military veterans and their dependents in need – and Chords for a Cause, a Wilmington-based non-profit that aims to raise money for local and national charities while also growing and supporting area musicians. Pi Sigma Epsilon will divvy up 25 percent of net profits from the Fling to the organizations.

Tickets to Wing Fling are $20 in advance and available now online. Day-of admission is $25.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.

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