AKRON, Ohio (July 29, 2015) – If bobbing your head into a baby pool filled with ketchup to locate a rubber hamburger doesn’t sound up your alley, perhaps you’ll enjoy the more than 20 area eateries serving up 50 different styles of hamburgers.
It all happens at the 10th Annual National Hamburger Festival presented by the City of Akron at Lock 3 Park Aug. 8-9. Admission to the National Hamburger Festival is $5. Children under eight years old are admitted free. Sponsored by the Akron RubberDucks, Akron Beacon Journal, Barefoot Wines and Miller Lite, the festival supports Akron Children’s Hospital.
“Our quirky, fun and downright delicious festival features a weekend of hamburger-inspired antics, activities, music and eateries serving up America’s favorite food – in the very town where the creators of the burger were born,” Drew Cerza, festival founder, said.
The hunger for chargrilled glory is the spark behind the National Hamburger Cook-Off. Participating restaurants vie for bragging rights in four different categories of best burger including: traditional, creative, cheeseburger and toppings/special sauce.
Take a break from the noshing to watch as goggle-adorned enthusiasts go “Bobbing for Burgers,” in which they dive head-first into a kiddy pool filled with ketchup to fish for burger patties. Five-time champion and second grade teacher Christy Sinko defends her crown.
Of course, what would a food festival be without some competitive eating? The Ohio Hamburger Eating Championship features eight local eaters competing to consume the most one-pound burgers in just 10 minutes. The Akron Fire Department gets in on the action on Sunday, with new recruits competing in an eating contest, as well.
During the fest, the 2015 National Hamburger Festival Queen also will be crowned as she joins a special reunion of the festival queens from the past 10 years. Additionally, children ages 2-5 can compete in pint-size pageantry during the Baby Burger Contest.
The festival also features live music all weekend. Highlighting the schedule of bands is a Saturday night concert featuring Changes in Latitude – A Tribute to Jimmy Buffet.
NEW IN 2015
Event organizers are capitalizing on Ohio’s burgeoning brewery scene with several craft beer offerings during the Craft Beer Tasting on Aug. 9.
Festivalgoers can enjoy some suds from nine Ohio breweries: Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. (Akron), Buckeye Brewing Company (Cleveland), Lagerheads Brewing (Medina), Canton Brewing Company (Canton), Ohio Brewing Company (Akron) and more.
Also on that Sunday, the festival is featuring the Indie Band Showcase in which some of Akron’s local indie bands will perform every hour on the hour from 1-6 p.m. Bands include The Brothers Band, Goodnight Tonight, By Light We Loom, Acid Cats and The Gage Brothers.
The festival also is partnering with the Akron RubberDucks for the 2nd Annual RubberDucks 5K Run on Aug. 9 The race, which draws hundreds of participants, ends one block from the festival entrance. All runners receive a complimentary ticket to the festival, as well as a free beverage.
Coondog O’Karma Appointed Honorary Chairman
Former competitive eater and Akron resident Dave “Coondog” O’Karma will serve as the Honorary Chairman for the 10th annual fest.
It was O’Karma and Cerza who concocted the idea for a hamburger festival in Akron. They based it on the successful National Buffalo Wing Festival that Cerza heads up in Buffalo, NY.
“I was competing for a few years at the Buffalo Wing Fest and started to wonder why Akron didn’t have a festival celebrating their own food invention – the hamburger,” O’Karma said. “It’s with great pride that I serve as the Honorary Chairmen for an event that has created so much civic pride for Akron over the last 10 years.”
In addition to his chairman duties, O’Karma will host The Tournament of Champions Hamburger Eating Contest with previous festival winners competing for the “Ketchup Belt.”
The Hamburger’s Hometown
Legend has it that it was two brothers from Akron, Ohio who created the hamburger back in 1885. On the final day of the New York State Fair in Hamburg, NY, Akron natives Frank and Charles Menches ran out of pork for the sandwiches they were vending from their concession booth. Thankfully, the pair found some ground beef, as well as a myriad of other ingredients, to create one of America’s most iconic foods – the hamburger.
MEDIA: For a media fact sheet with additional information, specific vendors and a schedule, click here.
MEDIA CONTACT: Lexi Robinson-Hotchkiss, Marketing Director, Lexi [at] LexiHotchkiss [dot] com or 216.288.2595.