EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. — The East Dubuque Greater Events Foundation is making a big investment in Wingfest XV in hopes of increasing benefits to the community.
The annual event is set for noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, in downtown East Dubuque.
A highlight this year is a free concert at 9 p.m. from the well-known country band Little Texas. The band had eight songs reach the top 10 of Billboard’s Country Airplay chart in the 1990s, including “What Might Have Been,” “God Blessed Texas,” “Kick a Little” and “My Love.”
“People recognize that name,” said foundation President Dave Sendt. “And we wanted to do something special.”
But the main feature of Wingfest, held on Sinsinsawa Avenue between First and Second streets, is, naturally, the wings. For $5, attendees can participate in a tasting from 1 to 4 p.m.
Sendt said in past years, Wingfest has seen 3,000 to 4,000 attendees throughout the day. This year, he has big aspirations.
“We’re hoping that increases maybe by twofold,” Sendt said.
Booking Little Texas about doubled the cost of putting on the event, Sendt said, though he declined to disclose the cost.
The event is funded both through sponsorships and money that the foundation has raised through other efforts.
He said the additional cost is worth it, though, to increase revenue. Proceeds from Wingfest, the foundation’s biggest fundraiser, go back to local organizations, such as the VFW and Lions Club.
In previous years, Wingfest has raised $8,000 to $12,000 for those groups, Sendt said. This year, he hopes to hit $20,000.
The East Dubuque Lions Club Food Pantry is one recipient. Club Secretary Nancy Neuses said the organization regularly provides food to about 35 needy families in the city and makes deliveries to the homebound.
“If it wasn’t for the help of local organizations like that to fund that, we wouldn’t be able to provide that for families,” Neuses said.
Sendt said that, though the increased cost of this year’s event comes with increased risk in the case of bad weather or low turnout, he is not worried.
“We’re hearing more and more buzz about people coming and looking forward to it,” he said.
He is looking forward to boosting East Dubuque’s downtown and giving back.
“We just want to put money back into the community,” Sendt said.