10WingFlingThe Vision Resource Center is set to host its Second Annual “Out of Sight” Wing Fling Fundraiser and Cook-off, with 10 times more chicken wings than before. 

The VRC, as a United Way agency in association with the Department of Social Services, provides practical skills education and advocacy for the blind and visually impaired in
Cumberland County.

On June 24, the center will fill Festival Park with food trucks, live music and activities from 3-8 p.m. as 10 teams compete for the best chicken wings
in town. 

Each team will receive 1,000 wings to impress the judges and wing-tasting participants. All farm-fresh chicken wings will be brought, as a donation, on a chilled 18-wheeler.

“Mountaire Farms stepped up, and they are rocking it out and giving us 10,000 chicken wings for this,” said Alicia Cope, Wing Fling co-chair and VRC board member. “They are a huge sponsor and supporter of us.”  

Admission is $5 with an additional $5 cost to be a wing taster. Due to the limited number of chicken wings, only 1,000 wing-tasting tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. 

As an added level of blind competition, tasters will have the option to be blindfolded while tasting. 

“This is going to be fun. If you want to truly taste it blind … you can put on the blindfolds and do that, as well,” Cope said. “We’ll have those available. They’re not required.”

Teams will be competing to win the “Judge’s Choice” or “People’s Choice” awards. A $500 prize follows both awards. 

The judges include Judge Tiffany Whitfield; Sheriff Ennis Wright; Joey “Porky” Newcomb, a Cape Beard member; AnneMarie Ziegler, ARRAY Magazine Publisher; and Al Florez, CFO of the Walker-Florez Consulting Group. 

J.P. Riddle Stadium housed the 2016 Wing Fling. This year, Cope said, there’s excitement around the more central location of Festival Park. 

Alicia Spease attended the cook-off last year with her family, including her 2-year-old son. She said the whole family enjoyed it even though the team they voted for wasn’t victorious. She said she plans to attend again this year.  

“I do plan on going,” Spease said. “It’s on the day I get back from vacation, and I’ll be dragging my family.” 

There will be many activities for the community, Cope said. Systel is sponsoring a $40 VIP tent, which will have access to shade, seating, drinks, a private bathroom and catered food. 

Other activities include a kid zone with inflatables; an EyeQ zone where you can learn about the blind and visually impaired community and participate in a blindfolded obstacle course; a volunteer informational table; and a raffle where you can enter to win an Amazon Echo, two CrossFit 910 memberships and a signed Carolina Panthers football. Additionally, expect to hear music or spoken word from The Guy Unger Band, That Nation, LeJuane Bowens, DJ “Q” and Autumn Nicholas. The Black Daggers will also put on a parachute show.

All profits will be used to support the Vision Resource Center, according to its website. “We’re a well-kept secret in Cumberland County, even though we’ve been in existence for 80 years,” Cope said. “But it’s a little part of the population that people don’t see, and they don’t see them because vision loss isolates. And so we’re trying to get them back out to be seen and to be part of our community.” 

Terri Thomas, VRC executive director, said the center’s largest costs are for transportation and independent living skills educators. 

Thomas said they plan outings outside the VRC walls, but some people care more about in-home support. 

Independent living skills lessons, often the most expensive type of support, are “a way to reach those who may not be social butterflies,” Thomas said.

You can buy tickets at the door to support the VRC or in advance at outofsightwingfling.com. 

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