HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — Everyone has their own opinion on how a burger should be prepared, but one thing people in Hamburg can agree on is where the hamburger was born.
“There’s some controversy that it started in another part of the country,” said Marlene Gonzalez, the co-chair of Burger Fest. “But we’re going to hold that it started here in Hamburg, New York.”
The story goes that the Menches Brothers attended the Erie County Fair back in 1885, where they ran out of pork sausage. They ran over to the butcher, who also ran out of pork, so they substituted the patties with ground beef.
“When people asked what was it, they looked up, saw that they were in Hamburg and they dubbed it the hamburger,” said Chris Hannotte , chair of the Hamburger Water Tower Project.
Now, every year since the burger’s 100th birthday back in 1985, the village comes together to honor the hamburger with it’s annual BurgerFest on Main Street and Buffalo Street.
This year, 90 vendors will return, after being away for two years. Those running the festival expect thousands of people to show up.
Organizers also said they have added extra safety precautions to make sure this Saturday is safe for everyone to attend.
“With everything that has taken place, we not only have security personnel, but we are taking increased measures as well, to ensure that people that are coming are going to be safe,” said Gonzalez.
The village will be closing down the streets and barricading each end of the festival, following recent mass shootings and threats around the country.
People in the community are excited to bring back the celebration of Hamburg’s secret — and possibly raise money and awareness for Western New York by painting Hamburg’s water tower like a burger.
“Painting the Hamburg water tower means — not just for Hamburg, but for all of Western New York — is an economic development opportunity through tourism,” Hannotte said. “If we paint it, they will come.”
The water tower advocates, along with other vendors, including food vendors and beer tents, as well as live music and the annual car show, will all be at the festival Saturday. For more information on the event, head to their website here.