Smell the tantalizing aroma drifting through the streets. Watch the creative ways that competing organizations and businesses present what they believe is the best burger. Feel the juices drip through your fingers as you prepare to enjoy the first bite of many burgers you'll taste on Aug. 30 in downtown Hamburg.From 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., the town will come alive with thousands of people during the fifth year of the Taste of Hamburg-er Festival. Be sure to purchase the Hamburg Item on Aug. 26 for a special insert containing participant details, a vendor map, and the performance schedule.
Directly following this year's festival, Abbey Road Live - a nationally renowned Beatles tribute band - will be playing at the Hamburg Field House at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $12 in advance /$15 at the door and can be pre-purchased at Our Town Foundation, Leibensperger Card & Gift Shop, or the Windsor Press. The concert BYOB. The band states that "this show is about bringing to life some of the more mature and complex Beatles material in raw and spirited fashion, while remaining true to the original recordings."
Check them out online at www.abbeyroadlive.com for more information.
Ten local restaurants and organizations will compete for the best burger - the People's Choice Award goes to the restaurant with the most "yummy" ballots at the close of the day, judged by none other than the thousands of people attending the festival. In addition, the Burger Bunch (a group of qualified burger tasters) will return this year to choose the Restaurant Cook-Off winner as well as the Organization Cook-Off winner.
New this year is the Chili Cook-Off - four groups are going to try their hands in this new contest. They must decide what will win the judges over - spicy, hot zest or mild, tasty flavor.
The festival has also become the breeding zone for some of the most talented (and sometimes crazy) contest participants - it must be something in the air (or the burgers).
Members from the United Eaters of Pennsylvania will be returning this year to prove their masculinity and professionalism in the field of "burger-eating" watch them shovel down one burger after another (check out last year's contest on YouTube.com) - the record for the festival is 13 burgers held by "the invader" Ion Hickman. All burger-eating amateurs also have their chance to shine (literally - with the burger grease that will be dripping from their face and glistening in the hot sun) in a separate contest, in a league of their own.
Every year, the Taste of Hamburger Festival committee hosts annual contests: Mooing (make sure you practice for "udder" perfection), Who Traveled the Farthest, WEEU Burger Festival Trivia, and a small wooden cow decorating contest for the kids (they can be made in advance or on the spot - $5 a cow). New this spot - $5 a cow). New this year, three groups will be competing in a large cow decorating contest: look for the creative entries from the Rotary, Hamburg Area Middle School, and the Hamburg Area Arts Alliance. For the second year, the Mold a Mound of Meat contest returns - a shining example of modern art and culture at the festival: yum raw beef sculpting.
While you're feeding your appetite, feed your ears with the afternoon's non-stop entertainment on four stage areas, spread out across Third, State and Fourth streets. Every generation is bound to find something they like - from rock and acoustic to country or blues, soloists to bands.
Families can walk around together looking at the various artist and crafter products: fabrics and textiles, jewelry, blacksmith work, paintings, gifts, toys, etc. If you bring the kids along, there are tons of activities for the children to partake in, from sand art to carnival games. Let them burn off their burger calories by jumping on the Moon Bounce.
This festival remains admission free thanks to the more than two dozen local sponsors, the primary sponsor Thrivent Financial, and a generous donation from the PA Beef Council (the group that chose Hamburg to celebrate the hamburger's 100th anniversary five years back). Good intentions and great expectations paid off with this festival, and if past years are to be used as precedent, expect an even larger crowd this year.
So steer yourself into downtown Hamburg on Saturday, Aug. 30 and mooo-ve on in for all day entertainment and loads of good beef cuisine - there's no bull about it.