Wings might be rather useless appendages for chickens, but some humans find the paltry poultry parts especially important. This afternoon those people might be seen red-faced, not embarrassed by their love for the blue-collar delicacy but proudly wearing wing sauce as a badge of honor for participating in the chicken wing-eating competition at Footy's Y-100 Wing Ding. Now in its 17th year, the event, held in Broward for most of its life, will fill Bayfront Park today with the smell of tangy sauce and equally spicy sounds. Y-100 morning DJ John Kross, a.k.a. Footy, is a passionate antidrug crusader and incurable chicken wing junkie. He dreamed up the bash as a fundraiser to aid Here's Help, a nonprofit that assists children and adults with substance abuse troubles. The Sun-Sentinel/WB Television Ch. 39 Children's Fund also will benefit from the Wing Ding. Although the affair began mainly as a competition to crown the maker of South Florida's best chicken wings, it has evolved over the years into a popular gig for pop music's hottest stars. Britney Spears, Destiny's Child, Brian McKnight, and Jessica Simpson are among the performers who have shaken their thing at the Wing Ding in the past. Lenny Kravitz, J.C. Chasez, Baby Bash, and local celebs such as escape artist Dylan Ace are just a few of the big names scheduled to entertain the estimated audience of 40,000-plus.
The true stars of the show, though, are the chicken wings. Before the music begins wafting through the park, tongues will burn, eyes will sting, and palates will be delighted or dismayed by the specimens offered by local restaurants competing for the title of top wing. Last year's winner was now-defunct Broward eatery Lord of the Wings, so the competition for the crown is wide open. Those entering the wing-eating contest might consider fasting for several hours prior and toting along a thermos full of antacid. It's doubtful Here's Help will handle a newfound dependence on Prilosec OTC.
Footy's Y-100 Wing Ding runs from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (wing-eating contest begins at 3:00 p.m.) at Bayfront Park Amphitheater, 301 Biscayne Blvd. Tickets range from $25 to $400. Call 954-862-2000. -- By Nina Korman
Walking AIDS Down
Though it may not be as prevalent in headlines today as it was 20 years ago, AIDS still lurks in our midst. Looking to the future, a new wave of infection continues to fester worldwide and close to home. According to epidemiology reports from the World Health Organization, one-quarter of the new infections recorded in the U.S. during 2002 occurred among 13- to 25-year-olds. The survey warns that the majority of adolescents who carry HIV are not aware of their infection status. Instead of rolling your eyes at the data, take action. Join hundreds of South Floridians at AIDS Walk Miami, the annual event that raises money for Care Resource, the area's largest AIDS/HIV nonprofit. TV personalities Melissa Rivers and Ted Casablanca are honorary grand marshals, but our favorite local participating is DJ HottPants (Daniel Blair), who will be strutting for dollars in the tiniest of shorts. The event begins at 8:00 a.m. at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr. Walkers should raise at least $25 in donations. Call 305-576-1234. -- By Juan Carlos Rodriguez
Plants get a boost at clinic
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Have you been suffering from alternaria? How about thrips, pinworms, or mites? If lethal yellowing sounds familiar, then a visit to the Deering Estate at Cutler (16701 SW 72nd Ave.) for a plant clinic might be the answer. Flora Green (yes, that's her real name) took her green thumb and love of plants and turned them into a million-dollar enterprise when she founded Foliage by Flora. Now she works as a consultant for Plant Professionals, where she designs and installs interior plants and is an expert in plant maintenance. She shares her extensive knowledge in a workshop today. Bring her your gardening questions, sickly plants, and those that require transplanting, and she'll teach you how to make them thrive. Attendees will receive information and a live plant. The clinic is held again on Saturday, May 1. The class begins at 1:00 p.m. Admission is $30. Call 305-235-1668, ext. 225. -- By Margaret Griffis
Miami Springs, the South Florida city that most resembles Mayberry (shhhh, not so loud!), will for the 31st time celebrate itself and the grand body of water that runs along its northeast border (the Miami River) with the Springs River Festival. Taking place at Miami Springs Circle Park (Curtiss Parkway and Canal Street), the three-day-long extravaganza will center on more than just water. Rock climbing, alligator wrestling, storytelling, a chili cook-off and cake bake-off, plus a dog and cat show are just a few of the family-friendly activities planned to go off among the booths peddling ethnic foods and arts and crafts. Of course every good festival must offer plenty of music. A tent featuring continuous tunes by blues bands, barbershop quartets, and folks such as Latin rock star Jorge Moreno (above) will dazzle ears. Hours are 6:00 p.m. to midnight today; 11:00 a.m. to midnight tomorrow; noon to 9:00 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Call 305-887-8666. -- By Nina Korman