A tasty way to benefit others

Wednesday, August 25, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:53 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 4, 2008

When it comes to pub grub, nothing satisfies quite like a chicken wing. Whether baked or fried, most folks like them crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Columbia has its fair share of wing joints, and tonight one lucky restaurant will be crowned king of the wing.

The 16th annual Easter Seals Wing Ding will take place tonight at American Legion Post 202. Wing lovers can chow down for charity as area restaurants vie for the coveted title of tastiest wing in Columbia. Local luminaries will assist the public in judging wings in four separate categories: best BBQ wing, meatiest wing, best overall taste and a people’s choice decided by all in attendance. Adam Cox, a 5-year-old student enrolled at Easter Seals Child Development Center, will also take part in the judging.

“It’s really important for local businesses to support local charities like Easter Seals, because without our support, they couldn’t exist,” said Richard Martin, co-owner of the Italian Village Restaurant. The restaurants vying for bragging rights this year include the Italian Village, along with Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar, Outback Steakhouse, Mojo’s, Domino’s Pizza, Prime Time Restaurant and Shiloh Bar and Grill.

Mojo’s took home last year’s people’s choice award with a semi-spicy wing. Asked how the restaurant would stack up this year, kitchen manager Gerry Brodeur confidently replied, “Well I already have one from last year.”

Easter Seals is a nationwide organization committed to helping children and adults with disabilities. The organization provides health and human services to more than one million people nationwide each year.

Smart Money Magazine ranks Easter Seals as one of the top charities to donate to in the country because of its percentage of money spent to help the disabled.

Marcia Machens, Easter Seals Columbia Board chairwoman, said the charity is great because the money goes directly to the people who need it and doesn’t get tied up in administrative costs.

Columbia’s Easter Seals Child Care Center has about 50 children enrolled in its programs. “Wing Ding allows us to continue to provide services for children with disabilities in the Columbia area,” said Gina Greenplate, the center’s director.

KPLA will broadcast live from the event, which kicks off at 5:30 p.m. today and lasts two hours. Advance tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at any Premier Bank location. Tickets can also be bought at the door for $15. For the price of a ticket, each person is welcome to all-you-can-eat wings and two beers or sodas. All proceeds will go to fund programs at the Easter Seals Child Development Center at 3804 Santiago Drive in Columbia.

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