Hamburg, New York will once again be celebrating its heritage as the birthplace of the hamburger, when the 28th annual “Burgerfest” is held Saturday, July 20.
This year’s event will includes more than 20 restaurants at the Taste of Hamburg Food Court from noon to 8 p.m., said this year’s chair, Eileen Hotho, of the Hamburg Rotary Club.
This year’s food vendors include August Bistro, Big Belly BBQ, Big Norm’s Dogs & More, Charlie’s Sugar Waffles, Comfort Zone, Danny’s South, Giacobbi’s, Hamburg Town Republicans, Hotrox Buffalo Bistro, Jack Devines, Jimmies Pizza, Jim’s Fries, Main Street Ice Cream, Mason’s Grill 52, Melanie’s, Nick Charlap’s, Pat Marsillo Concessions, Roaming Buffalo, Skeet’s Sliders, Sweet Temptations, Tropical Ice (Food Court), Tropical Ice (Buffalo Street) and Village Sweet Shoppe.
One thing that will be slightly different this year will be a change from the bed race. There will still be beds on Main Street lining up as usual at 4:45 p.m., but instead of a race, this year it will be considered a parade.
Hotho said this is largely due to rules changes made by the State Department of Transportation.
“We have to get a permit from the State DOT,” she said, if a “race” is to be held.
Other attractions on Main Street include the KeyBank Car Show That will be from noon to 4 p.m. Registration is from 9 a..m. to noon and awards will be given at 3:45 p.m. in several burger-themed categories.
Also, Mike Margerum and his “Nickel City Road Show” will be on Main Street from noon to 4:30 p.m..
Inside of the Village of Hamburg parking lot will be plenty of activities, including the First Niagara Kids Space from noon to 6 p.m. The children’s area will feature games, a bounce house (which tickets need to be purchased for), activities and face painting.
Returning to this year’s Burgerfest will be the “Tween Space” behind the former HSBC Bank parking lot at the corner of Main and Buffalo Street. This area offer activities designed for youths.The beer tent will also be open from noon to 11:45 p.m., and there will be several acts entertaining the crowd nearby at the Hamburg Casino Main Stage. The Hamburg Casino is the main sponsor of this year’s Burgerfest.
Performers will include Heard of Buffalo from noon to 2 p.m.; Tom Stahl and the Dangerfields from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.; Yvonne Schmidt from 5 to 7 p.m..; and Hit N Run from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.
There will also be plenty of activity along Buffalo Street. This will include vendors selling items from noon to 5 p.m.
And the band 23 Skidoo will perform from 4 to 5 p.m. on Buffalo Street and feature Dixieland music.
Burgerfest will kickoff again this year with the Character Chase, a 5k run through the Character Council of Western New York. It will be from 11 a.m. to around noon.
For those who are fans of Country music, the Rotary Club of Hamburg will be selling raffle tickets throughout the day as they will be raffling off six tickets to the Rascal Flatts concert at Darien Lake, which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 7. The cost will be $5 per ticket or three tickets for $10.
“They’ll have a booth at the car show early in the day (where tickets can be purchased),” Hotho said, adding that tickets will still be sold throughout the day after the car show ends.
According to Hotho, not only is the planning a year-around thing, but that it takes a lot of people’s hard work to make it a success.
She said there are more than 300 volunteers and that on the day of the festival, streets are closed at 8 a.m. to vendors can begin to set up. Then the bands start arriving and next thing you know, the “little village” has transformed into a popular event.
Other sponsors this year include First Niagara Bank, KeyBank, WasteManagement, West Herr Automotive Group, Lake Shore Savings Bank and Great Harvest Bread Co.
Burgerfest is run by the Rotary Club of Hamburg, Rotary Club of Hamburg Sunrise, Lions Club of Hamburg and the Kiwanis Club of Hamburg.
Hotho said Gary Allen with the Kiwanis Club “led the effort for many years” in coordinating Burgerfest, and when he stepped down as chairman, the decision was made to rotate who would coordinate it every two years, so Hotho said the Hamburg Rotary will be turning the reigns over to the Hamburg Sunrise Rotary in 2014.