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National Chicken Wing Day: 5 free wings today at Wingstop

The college football season doesn't kick off until Aug. 27 and the opener for the NFL gridiron giants isn't until Sept. 4.

But one of the favorite football foods for hungry fans watching guys toss around and carry a pigskin ball is the chicken wing, and today (July 29) is its big day.

Chicken Wing Day was first celebrated in 1977 when Stan Makowski, the mayor of Buffalo, N.Y., made a proclamation declaring that the food item be honored. That led to National Chicken Wing Day a few years later.

So those of you in Columbus who want to mark the fun moment might head over to the Wingstop outlet at 2528 Weems Road in the Columbus Park Crossing area. It's freebie time: Franchisee Ed Miller said he will celebrate the occasion by giving each guest five free chicken wings today. The eatery has 11 special sauces. Hours are 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

But back to the history of the chicken wing. Legend has it that a Buffalo bar owner created the non-breaded, deep-fried version when some family and friends wanted a late-night snack. They were tossed in butter and hot sauce, tickling their taste buds. Before then, the unusual chicken part was either used for soup or tossed in the trash.

An estimated 27 billion chicken wings were devoured by American consumers in 2013, according to nationalchickenwingday.com, with 1.2 billion eaten on Super Bowl weekend in early February.

The National Chicken Council tweeted today that the average American will gobble up 87 wings this year. "Don't be average," the council suggested.

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