January and Hudson Valley Chicken Wing Contests go hand in hand and have become a Mid-Hudson Valley Tradition. People around these parts are very excited about their chicken wings and buy tickets to attend the Hudson Valley Wing Fest and Hudson Valley Wing Wars each and every year.

These are popular events and there’s good reason why. The ‘Best of the Best’ come out to showcase chicken wings in an array of flavors and styles.

In addition to the patrons that enjoy the wings, the restaurants are also busy tweaking their recipes all year long in preparation for these events.

It’s a big deal! And, who doesn’t love chicken wings????

Who will be the winners of the Prestigious Awards for Best Chicken Wings in the area? There is only way to find out. You either have to go to one or both events.

Not sure which one to go to? This post will help you decide which one is a better fit for you.

Things to know about HV Wing Fest & HV Wing Wars:
  • This is a yearly event and is a popular event.
  • If you’re serious about going, buying your ticket(s) in advance is recommended.
  • The events will typically take place no matter what the weather. Check their websites for updates.
  • I recommend getting to HV Wing Fest early because local parking fills up quickly.
  • Bring baby wipes for your hands.
  • Dress comfortably. Unless you purchase a VIP ticket, there is no seating at HV Wing Fest.
Chicken Wing Competitor wearing a chicken hat at the Hudson Valley Wing Fest.

What is Hudson Valley Wingfest?

At the time of this posting (2019), Wingfest is celebrating its 12th year in Poughkeepsie. Can you believe it?

Top Activities & Events in the Hudson Valley in Winter

The Hudson Valley WingFest is held at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY. And it is as grand an event as the venue that hosts it.

According to their website:

“Hudson Valley WingFest is the Biggest, Original Wing Event!”

Hudson Valley Wing Fest Banner is raised high above the stage showcasing the event as the #1 wing event in the Hudson Valley.

The event showcases wings from more than 30 Places (Caterers, Restaurants, etc) under one roof. Now these are not your regular ‘ole BBQ wings. These wings come rubbed, marinated, sauced, etc.

In addition the event boasts a variety of other vendors, such as cosmetics, home improvement, ciders & beers, as well as, desserts.

What is Hudson Valley Wing Wars?

Hudson Valley Wing Wars is ‘the younger cousin’, so to speak, of the Wing Events. Held in a smaller venue (Ramada Inn), the Hudson Valley Wing Wars showcases wing places from approximately a dozen establishments (mostly restaurants & pubs).

At the time of this posting, the Hudson Valley Wing Wars are being held in two locations in different two counties.

  • The first event is taking place at the Ramada Inn in Fishkill, NY (Dutchess Co).
  • The second Event is at the Orange County Fairgrounds Arena in Middletown, NY Orange Co).

According to their website:

“Sample wings from the best restaurants and pubs in the Hudson Valley listen to live music, enjoy some great beer and more!”

A Quick Guide of Dutchess County

Both of the venues for the Hudson Valley Wing Wars can be reached easily by car. The Ramada Inn at Fishkill and the Orange County Fairgrounds are both located off of Interstate 84. (See Map Below)

How are they different? How are they the same?

– Differences Between HV Wing Fest & HV Wing Wars –

Both Wing Wars & Wing Fest showcase the best Chicken Wings from local restaurants, caterers and pubs.

– The Venues –

Hudson Valley Wing Fest is held in a larger venue. Because of this, though, the crowd at this event is often larger too. They fit 30+ wing places, plus, vendors all in one place.

The year that I went to Wing Fest (2017), the crowd seemed immense and the lines were long. Although they attempted to work out a system for the movement of the people in the venue, it does not always work.

It was also very hot inside the Mid-Hudson Civic Center. I did not see a coat check and walked around with my coat on. This made the evening uncomfortable because I was hot.

People at the Mid Hudson Civic Center for the Hudson Valley Wing Fest

Hudson Valley Wing Wars, this year (2019), is happening in two locations. I attended the event, last year, when it was held at the Ramada Inn (East) in Fishkill. They also added the Orange County Fairgrounds Arena (West) to their venues.

Although the event venue, at the Ramada Inn Fishkill, was smaller and had smaller crowds, there were also less vendors and less restaurants and pubs showcasing their wings (10+ restaurants/pubs). With less people attending, though, it wasn’t as hot as Hudson Valley Wing Fest and there was room to sit and enjoy your wings.

Eating Chicken Wings at the Hudson Valley Wing Wars
– Ticket Prices –

Wing Fest, in 2019, costs $30 per person for General Admission:

  • Entrance into the event at 5pm
  • 1-2 Wings per restaurant (30+ restaurants at the event)
  • Live Music
  • Parking not included in the fee

Wing Fest offers a VIP Ticket for $55 per person:

  • Entrance into the event at 3:30pm
  • Unlimited Wings
  • Stage Seating
  • Souvenir Mug with unlimited beer and cider
  • Live Music
  • Parking not included

Wing Wars, in 2019, costs $25 per person for General Admission:

  • Entrance into the event at 5pm
  • 15 wing sample total
  • Live Music
  • Parking at the Venue

Wing Wars offers 2 VIP Packages: $40 per person (All Ages) $50 per person (21+ years)

  • All Ages Package offers 24 wing samples
  • The 21+ years Package offers 24 wing samples and 2 Beer tickets

– Similarities Between HV Wing Fest & HV Wing Wars –

Both Hudson Valley Wing Fest & HV Wing Wars both offer a unique event where you can sample your favorite chicken wing flavors, as well as, new flavors.

A sampling of chicken wings available at Hudson Valley Wing Fest & Hudson Valley Wing Wars

Each event not only showcases the best chicken wings in the area, they also offer the opportunity for local Cideries and Distilleries to showcase their best. One of my favorites, Angry Orchard, offer samples.

Bad Seed Cider Company: The Secret to Enjoying Hard Cider in Ulster County

The Hudson Valley WingFest and Hudson Valley Wing Wars takes place from 5pm-9pm on their respective days. Be aware, though, that the Hudson Valley Wing Fest does offer an early entrance time of 3:30pm for an additional fee.

In Conclusion

When it comes to comparing the Hudson Valley Wing Fest and the Hudson Valley Wing Wars, neither one of better that the other. It comes down to your personal preference.

Things to keep in mind when making your decision:

  • Admission price and what you get for your money
  • Location of the venue
  • Parking for each event

Find out more about these events on their Facebook Pages:


Where to Next???

Now that you have information regarding the Hudson Valley Wing Wars and Wing Fest, let’s see where you should go next…

Map Key for the Hudson Valley Exploring Map

Until the Next Adventure…

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Chicken wings being served at the Hudson Valley Wing Fest