LEWES, Del. - Restaurants from across Delmarva were vying for the title of Best Wings on the Shore in Lewes Sunday. Now in its fifth year, the competition and the audience of wing lovers is greater than ever before, with 18 vendors and about 500 expected taste testers.
On the line at the Crooked Hammock are bragging rights and a share of the local wing market.
Enthusiastic wing lovers were waiting at the door in a driving rain waiting to get their fill of local poultry. The fee is twenty dollars to get in the door and receive a ballot box. That twenty dollars goes to Ocean 98's Cash For College Fund.
"You walk around, try all the wings and you fill out your favorite for best overall, most creative and hottest, we round up all the scores. At 3 PM we find out who wins, it's that easy," explained Ocean 98 promotions director JJ Roth.
The vendors compete for three prizes; best overall, most creative and hottest wings. This presents a rare chance for these vendors to connect.
"The thing that's great about this it's a social marketing networking," says Roth. "It's just an event. You want to be here, you want all of these hundreds of people to get in front of you, even if they don't try your wings. Give them a business card, you could get some new clients, some new customers out of it."
"It's great getting all of these guys in the same area, the same room. Chefs talking to chefs, GMs talking to GMs, and it's such a close knit community with all the restaurants in southern Delaware and it just makes sense to get everybody together," says Matthew Frey, GM for Crooked Hammock.
Locals come to spread their wings, branching out to find new restaurants they wouldn't have otherwise.
The event is the driving force for Ocean 98's Cash For College Funds, which helps select high school seniors in the area.
Three area high school seniors will each be awarded $1,000 to be used for college tuition or to purchase books as they pursue a college education.
Winners will be selected from Maryland's Worcester and Wicomico County, and Sussex county in Delaware.
The essay topic for applicants, recount a time when you faced a challenge setback or failure, how it affected you and what you learned.
"We donate a thousand dollars to each one of them for college expenses that freshman year," says Roth. "So everyone sends in resumes, and they send in just essays to us at Ocean 98, we kind of weave through them and we pick a winner from each county and give a thousand dollars to kids each and every year."
Applications can be found in your high school guidance office. The application deadline is April 13, the winners will be notified in June.
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