Uniting Our Neighborhood ‘Against All Odds’

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The Michigan Chicken Wing Festival celebrates 5 years

For decades, chicken wing festivals have existed in the United Kingdom and throughout the United States. Thanks to the impassioned vision of Shirley Carter-Powell, the Michigan Chicken Wing Festival (MCWF) will be holding its fifth event this year at Lansing’s Adado Riverfront Park from Aug. 31-Sept. 1. 

Carter-Powell founded the MCWF as well as the nonprofit organization Against All Odds (AAO), which receives all proceeds from the event. Carter-Powell started AAO 20 years ago as a way to support cancer patients and survivors in her community. “The MCWF is our major fundraiser for the entire year. Being a two-time breast cancer survivor who went through hard times where I had to choose between buying medication or groceries, I knew I needed to do something to support others who could be going through similar struggles.” She said.

A popular feature of the festival is the Wing Eating Contest and Wing Tasting Contest, where patrons will decide which participants and vendors will be crowned King/Queen of the Wings. “In the past, we’ve had people from as far as Germany and Japan participate in the Wing Eating Contest. Whatever your taste buds may be, there are a lot of options available for tasting at this event; we have one vendor coming this year with 25 flavors at his tent alone,” said Carter-Powell.

However, Carter-Powell prides herself on the event having much more to offer than just tasty chicken: “It’s not just about wings, it is about anyone who has a specialty. Whether it’s burgers or any other food, all types of culinary skills are tested at our event.” 

Vendors who have attended in the past have come from all over the country, as far as California and south Florida. 

The festival will also feature a kids’ zone for playing, an entrepreneur tent for shopping, a beer and wine tent, and live musical acts. The MCWF strives to book a diversified lineup that will appeal to a variety of musical tastes; in the past, bands have come all the way from New Orleans, Atlanta and farther to play the MCWF. “This year we 

even have a rock group who toured with Bon Jovi called FLEMT coming all the way from Italy,” said Carter Powell.

Ensuring the event remains family inclusive is of major importance to Carter-Powell. “As I always say, ‘pray together, play together, stay together.’ Our communities are so important, and a lot of us don’t even know our neighbors. I wanted to bring the community together and make this one of the most diverse festivals in the city.”

Cancer patients and survivors will be granted free admission into the event. Buy your ticket, make a donation to AAO, or reach out to volunteer at this year’s MCWF through the official website: michiganchickenwingfestival.com.