The Wing Crawl History began in 2007 and has grown in popularity to a level that was beyond our expectations. Each year as the winter weather turns to spring, we begin to get questions of when the event will be held so that people can plan their summers. In 2016, one of those questions came all the way from Germany and we are proud to say that the event has an international draw (crazy right?). The idea that someone would plan their summer vacation around an event that we host is a sign that we are onto something good.
The predecessor to Pillars of Lakewood was the Lakewood Jaycees. In 2006, the Jaycees were looking for a signature event. After a long while of brainstorming and assessing what we had available and where a need may exist, a young man sitting on the next bar stool said, well Lakewood has a lot of places that serve wings why not have a contest. From there we set out on planning the first year’s event, which was to be a festival.
We made arrangements with the City of Lakewood to host the event at Lakewood Park and booked bands to play on the bandstand, organized a skateboarding competition and games for kids to play, organized concessions for soft drinks and set up portable deep fryers for our 6 contestants to cook their wings. Wings were sold in baskets of 10. Votes from the guests and judges were tallied and a winner of the Best Wings in Lakewood was declared. After all was said and done we had hosted a large event and learned a lot about how it could be better.
The next year, it was wisely decided to incorporate the crawl. Rather than face all the challenges of cooking with portable deep fryers (which kept us at the park for four hours while we waited for the oil to cool down), it seemed to make more sense to bring people to the contestants. This gave the contestants the opportunity to work in the comfort of their kitchen and the guests were able to check out places that they may not have been to.
The first few years had locations on Madison as well as Detroit. Initially, we had contracted with Lolly the Trolley and for every year since 2008 American Limousine, has been used to provide shuttle service throughout the event for all of our guests. There have been a few tech updates over the years as Facebook and PayPal have made it so much easier to sell passes.
Over the years, there have been many contestants. There are some locations which have held strong over the years and others which have come and gone. Pillars appreciates the support that all of the contestants and guests have given us over the years to make this event such a success. We look forward to another 10 years of showcasing the vibrancy that our Lakewood establishments have to offer.