Food & Drink

Feast Q&A: Winging it for charity

Nick Berruezo
Nick Berruezo Courtesy of Nick Berruezo

Nick Berruezo’s inspiration for the Sactown Wings Festival was simple: Sacramento loves festivals, and people love wings.

The charity event, set for Aug. 15 at Cesar Chavez Park, debuted last year with more than 1,300 attendees. This year, organizers expect the crowds to return to enjoy more than 40,000 wings from at least eight different local vendors.

Berruezo is a familiar face at Sacramento community events. He’s the founder of Xoso Sport and Social League, an athletics club for young professionals that also provides volunteers for nonprofit causes.

In addition to wings offered by Barwest, Chicago Fire, the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op, Adamo’s and other vendors, the festival will feature live music, beer and games that the Xoso team will provide – including giant Jenga and giant beer pong.

The Bee recently spoke with Berruezo about the festival’s appeal and attendees.

Q: Wings are usually associated with young men and sports bars, so we have to ask: Is this a bro-heavy event?

A: No. Not based on last year. It kind of ran the gamut. There were families of all kinds of demographics. It was a great day.

Q: You’ve got an eclectic mix of vendors. How did you get such a variety?

A: We’ve contacted a lot of people and not everyone can make it. The Food Co-Op actually approached us. We did have multiple catering companies reach out to us as well. The Food Co-Op was trying to showcase that it’s not just a grocery store. (Ink Eats and Drinks) is known for great food, Barwest is known for their wings. Chicago Fire has fantastic wings, those are more typical. We wanted to cast a wide net.

Q: Do you have a favorite wing flavor?

A: I haven’t had a wing that I don’t like.

Q: What charity does Sactown Wings Festival benefit?

A: It’s the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento. Obviously, it’s a national and international organization, but each local branch has to raise their own funds, so the money we raise will go directly to Sacramento’s Habitat for Humanity. (Philanthropy) is definitely something we like to do. When we started Xoso, we kind of made it a volunteer organization in its sense as well, with this large network of young professionals. Volunteering has kind of been part of our generation.

Q: So is that the kind of demographic you’re aiming for with the festival?

A: That’s what I expected but I was surprised at how eclectic the audience was. It was nice to see Sacramento getting out and having people of all walks of life attend. We thought it would end up being more of the Xoso demographic, and it wasn’t. We had a lot of our players out there enjoying it as well, but it was surprising that old people and young people and families and young professionals and all types of people were out there. This year we expect the same on a larger scale.

Q: What’s your wing-eating record?

A: I’m sure people could do way more than me. I prefer to savor and enjoy my wings.

Jeanne Kuang: 916-321-1188, @jeannekuang

Nick Berruezo

Organizer of Sactown Wings Festival

When: 3-7 p.m. Aug. 15

Where: Cesar Chavez Park, 910 I St., Sacramento

Cost: $10 in advance for general admission tickets, $15 at the door; $45 in advance for VIP tickets; free for kids 5 and under.