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Luckily there was not a paper towel shortage on July 13 when United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County’s Emerging Leaders hosted the second annual WingFest. There were more than a few sticky fingers among the sell-out crowd of 850+ people that visited 11 chicken wing vendors in The Railyard.

“This year’s event was organized to help raise funds to develop Creative Learning Spaces for Lincoln’s youth. Last year’s funds were used at Campbell Elementary, where an outdoor area will be transformed into a learning environment,” said Erin Hart, chair of Emerging Leaders United. This year, the group plans to ask for requests for proposals from schools and nonprofits to explore the best ideas for creative learning.

“Chowing down on great wings is always a gastronomical delight; however, when it’s done for a good cause, it’s all the more satisfying.” At least that is what one vendor, Charlie Phillips from Mary Ellen’s Food Truck, said. They were on hand to help the community, he said, and to prepare over 1,500 of their special sweet and spicy wings. Other vendors included Buffalo Wild Wings, Buffalo Wings & Rings, Cappy’s Hotspot Bar & Grill, Green Flash Brewing Co., Longwell’s, Miller Time Pub and Grill, Stur 22, UnbeWingable and 9 South CharGrill.

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Lincoln Electric System, the “fire” sponsor, was joined by 28 other businesses that came out to financially support the event.

The panel of six judges – DeMoine Adams, Tammy Ward, Emily Koopman, Spencer Long, Bill Schammert and D-Wayne Taylor – sampled a wing from each of the 11 vendors and chose Longwell’s to receive the Judge’s Choice award. Stur 22 was chosen as the People’s Choice award winner.

Emerging Leaders United produces events like these to support United Way’s “ENGAGE.EMPOWER.GRADUATE.” initiative that works to ensure children and their families, regardless of circumstances, have the opportunity to succeed in school and in life. To find out more, go to unitedwaylincoln.org.

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