Burger Fest

The Taste of Hamburg


Celebrating 130 Years

Burgerfest set July 16; organizers announce music lineup; sponsors, vendors sought

            Organizers have finalized the musical lineup for the 31st annual Burgerfest in the Village of Hamburg. The one-day festival that celebrates the creation of the hamburger in Hamburg, New York 131 years ago will take place on Saturday, July 16 from 11 a.m. to midnight.

            Headliners for this year’s event are Hit ‘n Run, playing from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. The festival will take over Main and Buffalo Streets (Route 62) and the village municipal parking lot with entrances on Main, Buffalo and Union streets. The entertainment begins with Elvis impersonator Terry Buchwald at noon, then line dancing lessons at 2:30, followed by country music band West of the Mark from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. More event details for Burgerfest can be found on the website at www.hamburgburgerfest.com.

            Along with music all day on the Main Stage, there will be a beer tent and a food court with local restaurants and food trucks. Those interested in participating as a food vendor in the Taste of Hamburg should contact Norm Zintz at nczintzaes4you@aol.com.

            Activities on Main Street include the Key Bank Classic Car Show with music provided by a local DJ and Nickel City Road Show children’s entertainment, followed by the entertainment showcase Magic on Main Street, which debuted last year. The Kidspace children’s area is in the municipal lot and includes games, arts and crafts and inflatables. Businesses and not-for-profit agencies and an arts and crafts show will set up along Main and Buffalo streets. Contact information and registration forms can be found on the website.

            The organizers of the festival are four service organizations: the Rotary Club of Hamburg, the Rotary Club of Hamburg, Sunrise, the Town of Hamburg Lions Club and the Hamburg Kiwanis Club. Proceeds of the Burgerfest are used to fund numerous community projects throughout the year through the four clubs, benefiting diverse recipients including children, college students, veterans and victims of domestic abuse.     Sponsors who wish to support the event this year may call Burgerfest Chair Phil Durkin at (716)430-0019.

Hamburg held its first Burgerfest in 1985 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the first hamburger created on the Hamburg Fairgrounds in 1885 for the Erie County Fair.
 Frank and Charles Menches, vendors who traveled the world's fair route and who have been credited with also creating Cracker Jacks and the ice cream cone, concocted the hamburger - arguably America's favorite sandwich. Descendants of the Menches brothers of Ohio, who remain in the restaurant industry three generations later, have traveled to Hamburg to participate in several Burger Fest celebrations over the years. Historical documents state that the Menches brothers ran out of their usual pork sausage that hot, fateful day at the fair and turned to a local butcher to replenish their supplies. When no pork was available, a butcher suggested they use ground beef. The Menches brothers purchased the beef, adding secret ingredients, including coffee grounds to create a unique flavor and the hamburger was born. It is said that the burger got its name when a customer asked what this wonderful sandwich was called and one of the brothers looked up and, seeing the Hamburg Fairgrounds sign, said, "Why, it is The Hamburger."