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Wing Commanders

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Nearly 30 chefs will fire up their propane deep-fryers this afternoon for the inaugural Best Wings in Lakewood contest. And Shawn Juris will be among those finger-licking his way through the taste test of wings from area bars and restaurants. "It just wouldn't make sense to have the Best Wings in Lakewood won by somebody from Rocky River," says Juris, president of the Lakewood Jaycees. "So, it [includes] anybody from the small corner bar that happens to have a kitchen to the Winking Lizard and anything in between."

A panel of judges will rate each competitor before handing out prizes. The public can purchase $3 baskets of 10 wings before casting its own votes for the People's Choice Award. Juris offers a bit of advice to chefs: Lay off the heat. "I like to have a little bit of flavor to it, but it needs to be edible," he says. "We're not trying to kill people with sauces [named] Diablo and Inferno. Based on the best taste, I'd assume the winning wing will be between medium and hot. Nothing too crazy."

Between bites, adults can play coed softball and volleyball. Kids can skateboard, play Wiffle ball, and hang out at an arts-and-crafts table. And the entertainment lineup includes rockers Jim Tigue & Marysa, Chris Allen (who used to front local alt-country group Rosavelt), and High School Rock-Off alumni Elephants in the Living Room.

It's no coincidence that the competition falls on Father's Day. Juris and crew will keep the kids busy while dads in the crowd chow down on chicken. "What better way to pay a bit of respect to Dad? Hopefully, everybody will be feeling very full of wings," says Juris. "And for those who overdo it, there might be some Pepto-Bismol on hand."
Sun., June 18, 3-7 p.m.

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