ON SALE NOW! 12-Day Pass to the 2020 Erie County Fair

 

For a limited time, the Erie County Agricultural Society will offer 12-day gate admission passes to the 181st Erie County Fair for $35. The sale beings today, Monday, December 9th at 9am and continues until the limited supply is gone. Passes allow for one gate admission per day of the Fair (passes do not include parking.)

 

 

“When strategizing how to “Win The Summer” and make the most out of the ‘Best 12-Days of Summer” the 12-day passes is a valuable, money saving tool,” said Marty Biniasz, Erie County Fair Marketing Manager. “With a purchase of the pass, Fairgoers are saving $88 or 71.5% on full-priced admission purchased at the gate. Passes are for adult admission as children 12 and under are always free at the Fair”

 

 

12-day passes may be purchased online at www.ecfair.org/p/info/12daypass or by visiting the Fairgrounds Main Office located in the Lower Grandstand, Monday-Friday from 9am-4:30pm. There is a limit of 4 passes per household. A $1 shipping fee will be added to each card purchased online. The 12-day pass sale will end without notice after limited quantity has be depleted.

 

 

About the Erie County Fair

The Erie County Agricultural Society is a private not-for-profit membership organization. Established in 1819, the Society is the oldest civic organization in Western New York. The mission of the Erie County Agricultural Society (ECAS), sponsors of the Erie County Fair, is to preserve and enhance, by educational endeavors, the agricultural and historical legacy of New York State. The Fair strives to fulfill appropriate aspects of the agricultural, educational, entertainment and recreational needs of Western New York. The 181st Erie County Fair is scheduled for August 12th -23rd, 2020 (www.ECFair.org).

Fairgoers Vote for Garden Railway Building Contest; Winners Announced

A note from our friends at the Western New York Garden Railway Society:

 

In 2019, Easy Moving Equipment (EMC) of Canada again sponsored a building contest for Club members.  They have sponsored this contest for several years, offering cash prizes to the winners.  In past years, the winners have been picked by club member voting, sometimes coupled with fair visitors’ votes.  In 2019, the winners were selected solely by fair visitors.  A new feature this year was the use of turn tables so the visitors could see all sides of the model.  The purpose of the contest is to encourage members to explore new techniques for model making and to make models for the train layouts that are not available from commercial kits.  In the past, members have made models of the picnic pavilion on the Arcade and Attica railroad, the A&A station, the historic colored musicians club of Buffalo, and other local landmarks.  This year, we had 2,700 votes cast by fair visitors, the highest number of votes ever cast.

 

There were five entries in this year’s contest, with one being submitted by our youngest member and one submitted by one of our older members with the ages spanning from preteen to the 80’s.  We are please to announce the following winners.

 

First place went to Gary Tebo, one of the founding members of the club.  He did Beetle Bailey’s car lot.  Gary is an accomplished modeler, having submitted a bicycle sales store last year and a hot dog stand the year before.  Gary uses several media for modeling.  This year’s entry was made using for insulation board that was carved to represent brick construction.  The interior was also detailed and lite.

 

 

Second place went to one of our club’s youngest members, Derrick Gillette.  This is the third year that Derrick has entered the contest, beginning with the first year he was a member.  Over the three years, we have watched as Derrick has increased his modeling skills.  He did a submarine our of storiform, an airplane hanger from cardboard, and this year, a combination of cardboard and clay.  His building was from a video game which few of our club members recognized, but many of the younger fair visitor knew exactly what it was!

 

 

Third place winner was Ron Brounschidle, the current club president.  Ron is also an accomplished model builder, have several buildings on this and other club shows that demonstrates his abilities.  This year, his classic water tower was something that everyone could relate to.  He had the mandatory FAA warning lite on top to warn low flying airplanes of the water tower.  He used a combination of carbon fiber tubes for the legs with coffee can for the actual water tank, and brass strips and wire for the railings and ladder.  The inside of the pump house was also detailed with a pump, plumbing, and an electrical control panel on the wall for the system.

 

 

Fourth place went to Jack Henderson, again one of our founding members and oldest modeler in this year’s contest.  Using wood as his modeling media, he modeled a filling station and car maintenance facility typical of the mid 20th century.  Jack has made many buildings for the club both as part of these modeling contest and buildings for the layout in general.  One of his pieces that many fairgoers might remember seeing in various club events is a model of the Arcade station.

 

 

Fifth place went to Charles Bartel for the CB Gizmo office and manufacturing facility.  It was made using a 3D printer to create the outer walls and entrance doorway, and custom milled wood for interior floors and walls, as well as the loading dock and loading dock doors.  Primary activity in this model was in generating the print program to simulate cinder block construction.  Though not model for a specific building, it was designed to be representative of a small company served by a rail siding from the 1940’s.

 

 

It should be noted that some had their favorite models and visited the train display on multiple days, casting a ballot each day they were there!  We appreciate the dedication of those visitor who took the time out to make a visit to the layout and trust that you thoroughly enjoyed this year’s display.  We will be back in 2020 with a new display in the Grange building but in a different location.  Please mark your calendars to attend the fair and vote for your favorite display.  Unlike our political elections, please come often and vote often.  No ID required!

 

For information on the Western New York Garden Railway Society, please visit our web page at https://wnygrs.com.  Come join us and enter next years contest.  You do not need to have your own trains to join, just and interest in Garden Railroading.

Save By the Car Load; Discount Vouchers for 15th Annual Fairgrounds Festival of Lights On-Sale November 1st

 

Visitors to the annual Fairgrounds Festival of Lights can save 40% on gate admission with the purchase of a $15 advance sale carload voucher at all Tops Friendly Markets. The discount voucher promotion begins November 1st and ends on Thanksgiving Day, November 28th and can be purchased at any checkout register. After November 28th, standard gate admission to the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights is $25 per carload. Carload admission to the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights includes a wide array of activities and holiday fun that includes six decorated buildings, live family entertainment, craft making and vendors.

 

 

This year marks the 15th year for what has become a time-honored holiday tradition in Western New York. The Fairgrounds Festival of Lights at the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg will be open for fifteen nights, with opening night on the Friday after Thanksgiving and will run every weekend through December 15th with an expanded schedule December 18th through the 23rd. The Festival is open from 5:00pm-9:00pm, with the buildings and grounds staying open until 10:00pm. The Fairgrounds Festival of Lights is sponsored by the Erie County Agricultural Society (ECAS). For more information regarding the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights visit www.FairgroundsHoliday.com.

15th Annual Fairgrounds Festival of Lights Opens Nov. 29th

 

On Friday, November 29th, the switch will be flipped on to illuminate more than one million lights as the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights opens its 15th season. This time-honored, holiday tradition takes place at the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg and is the largest Christmas festival in Western New York State.

 

 

The Fairgrounds Festival of Lights will be open for fifteen nights, with opening night on the Friday after Thanksgiving and will run every weekend through December 15th with an expanded schedule December 18th through the 23rd. The Festival is open from 5:00pm-9:00pm, with the buildings and grounds staying open until 10:00pm.

 

 

Visitors to the annual Fairgrounds Festival of Lights can save 40% on gate admission with the purchase of a $15 advance sale carload voucher at all Tops Friendly Markets. The discount voucher promotion begins November 1st and ends on Thanksgiving Day, November 28th and can be purchased at any checkout register. After November 28th, standard gate admission to the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights is $25 per carload. Carload admission to the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights includes a wide array of activities and holiday fun that includes six decorated buildings, live family entertainment, craft making and vendors. The Fairgrounds Festival of Lights is sponsored by the Erie County Agricultural Society (ECAS). For more information regarding the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights visit www.FairgroundsHoliday.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Companies Invited to Put Their Teamwork Skills To the Test During The 3rd Annual Canstruction® Competition To Benefit FeedMore WNY

This December, Western New York companies and organizations will compete amongst each other to build structures made entirely out of canned goods to benefit the Food Bank program of FeedMore WNY. The building of structures for the 3rd annual Canstruction® Competition is scheduled to take place December 13th, 14th & 15th during the 2019 Fairgrounds Festival of Lights.

 

 

During the competition, employee teams have a total of 12 hours to build their displays. Creations are then judged by a celebrity panel for a chance at winning top accolades for the Best Original Design, Structural Ingenuity, Best Use of labels and the Most Use of Cans. Additionally, Festival of Lights attendees participate in judging by offering a penny vote for their favorite display; which will determine the People’s Choice Award and provide more funds to FeedMore WNY. New this year will be the use of a “winter holiday movie” theme for the Canstruction® structures.

 

 

Since the event’s inaugural year in 2017, a total of 29,105 pounds of food have been collected that provided meals to Western New York citizens. Past companies that have participated include Ferguson Electric, Trautman Associates, National Fuel, Hale, Hamburg Gaming, Wendel and Praxair.

 

 

Those wishing to participate in Canstruction® are asked to visit http://www.the-fairgrounds.com/festival-lights/what-do/holiday-contests. The cost to participate is a $250 entry fee plus the cost of food used in the competition that will be donated to FeedMore WNY.  The Canstruction® Competition is part of the 2019 Fairgrounds Festival of Lights sponsored by the Erie County Agricultural Society (ECAS). For more information regarding the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights visit www.FairgroundsHoliday.com

 

“1885 Style Burger” On Menu to Support Hamburg Palace Theater

 

In celebration of “National Birth of the Burger Day” on Wednesday, September 18th, Butera’s Craft Beer & Craft Pizza (32 Main Street, Village of Hamburg), will host a special “hamburger history” event from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. The evening will include a hamburger sandwich on the menu utilizing the original hamburger recipe that debuted at the 1885 Erie County Fair. The authentic recipe will be provided by John Menches of Canton, Ohio, great-grandson of hamburger co-inventor Charles Menches. In addition, author and culinary historian Chris Carosa will present two “hamburger history” talks during dinner (6-7p & 7-8p) where he will tell the story of the first hamburger. Carosa is the author of Hamburger Dreams – How Classic Crime Solving Techniques Helped Crack the Case of America’s Greatest Culinary Mystery.

 

 

John Menches will be bringing his family’s original recipe from Ohio and patrons will be able to dine on the actual Original Recipe Menches Brothers Hamburger at the event. “Ever since we discovered the original recipe nearly thirty years ago, we encouraged people to taste the original recipe Menches Brothers hamburger so it can be a standard by which all other burgers are judged,” says Mr. Menches.

 

 

A portion of the proceeds from the sales of both the original recipe Menches Brothers hamburger and the book, Hamburger Dreams, will be donated to the historic Hamburg Palace Theatre. The 93-year-old movie house, and Village of Hamburg landmark, is in desperate need of major physical upgrades that include roof repairs, the updating of the existing heating and air conditioning and bathrooms.

 

 

“National Birth of the Burger Day” commemorates the legend of the invention of the hamburger sandwich that took place during the 1885 Erie County Fair by Frank and Charles Menches of Canton, Ohio.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, September 18th is National Birth of the Burger Day

 

Wednesday, September 18th is “National Birth of the Burger Day” The day commemorates the legend of the invention of the hamburger sandwich that took place during the 1885 Erie County Fair by Frank and Charles Menches of Canton, Ohio.

 

 

Why September 18th? Until the early 1920s, the Erie County Fair was held mid to late September or as late as early October to celebrate the agricultural harvest. The 1885 Erie County Fair, the event that saw the invention of the hamburger sandwich, was held September 16th-18th, 1885.

 

“Birth of the Hamburger in Hamburg” Canton, Ohio natives Frank and Charles Menches were food vendors at the 1885 Erie County Fair, also known as the Hamburg Fair. Legend has it that during the course of the Fair, the Menches ran out of their signature menu item of pork sausage sandwiches. Their local supplier, Hamburg butcher Andrew Klein, was reluctant to butcher more hogs during a period of unseasonable late summer heat and suggested to substitute the use of ground beef.  The brothers fired some up, but both found it dry and bland. They added coffee, brown sugar and other ingredients to create a unique taste. The original sandwiches were sold with just ketchup and sliced onions. With new found success with their beef sandwich, they christened it the “hamburger” sandwich after the Erie County Fair’s home town of Hamburg, New York.

 

 

Relishing in the Menches Success! There have been other claims made about the origin of the hamburger sandwich. As concessionaires traveled from one fair to another, it was common to emulate the success of other vendors and share “best practices.” As a result, they would make claims of their own as the “burger” made regional debuts:

 

 

  • October 1885 – After learning about the Menches success, fair concessionaire Charlie Nagreen claimed to have sold a meatball between two slices of bread at the Outagamie County Fair in Seymour, Wisconsin.
  • Late 1880s – Fletcher Davis of Athens, Texas claimed to have invented the hamburger. According to oral histories he opened a lunch counter and served a ‘burger’ of fried ground beef patties with mustard and Bermuda onion between two slices of bread, with a pickle on the side. Davis later went on to sell the burger at the 1904 World’s Fair.
  • 1891 – Otto Kuase said he invented the hamburger in 1891 after he cooked a beef patty in butter and topped with a fried egg.
  • 1900 – Louis Lassen of Louis’ Lunch, a small lunch wagon in New Haven, Connecticut, is said to have sold the first hamburger and steak sandwich in the U.S. in 1900, 15 years after the Menches Bros.

 

 

Why the Erie County Fair Menches Hamburger Story “Cuts the Mustard”

 

 

  • The Menches Brothers 1885 claim is the oldest “birth of the burger” sandwich story in the United States.
  • No other invention story can stake a claim to why their sandwich is called a “hamburger,” our story can!
  • Descendants of the Menches Brothers have an original, handwritten burger recipe.
  • The Menches family is still in the burger business today. No other claim still has an operating restaurant serving the original recipe.
  • In the 1920s, carnival historian John C. Kunzog interviewed Frank Menches about his experience at the Erie County Fair. His detailed hamburger story was published in the 1970 book, “Tanbark & Tinsel.”
  • Successful entrepreneurs, the Menches not only claim hamburger history, but are also credited for pioneering the production of ice cream cones and creating “Gee-Whiz,” a caramel coated peanut and popcorn snack now known as Cracker Jacks.
  • The National Hamburger Festival is held annually in the Menches home town of Akron, Ohio. Restaurants from across the United States gather to pay homage to good ol’ Frank & Charles Menches.
  • Founded in 1985 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Menches Brothers invention, The Village of Hamburg hosts the annual BurgerFest and is one of the biggest annual events in the region.
  • The invention of the hamburger story is featured in an exhibit inside the Erie County Fair’s Heritage & History Center Museum. The display includes a child’s sized burger concession stand that allows kids to “serve up” play hamburgers.
  • News outlets around the globe including the BBC to Japanese national television have told the Erie County Fair story over the decades. The 1885 Burger Store, a restaurant in Taipei City, Taiwan, China, honors the Erie County Fair legend.

 

 

About the Erie County Fair – “National Birth of the Burger Day” is sponsored by the Erie County Agricultural Society. Established in 1819, the Society is a private not-for-profit membership organization and is the oldest civic organization in Western New York. The mission of the Erie County Agricultural Society (ECAS), sponsors of the Erie County Fair, is to preserve and enhance, by educational endeavors, the agricultural and historical legacy of New York State. The Fair strives to fulfill appropriate aspects of the agricultural, educational, entertainment and recreational needs of Western New York. (www.ECFair.org)

Gates Officially Close on a Record Breaking 180th Erie County Fair

 

HAMBURG, NEW YORK – The all-time attendance record for the Erie County Fair was shattered as the “Best 12 Days of Summer” in Western New York State concluded Sunday night. Final 2019 attendance is 1,238,456. This number represents a 3.3% increase from 2018 and makes 2019’s number the highest attended Fair in the history of the Erie County Agricultural Society. The previous all-time record was achieved in 2014 (1,220,101).

 

 

Record breaking attendance numbers are just one of the benchmarks used to measure the success of the annual Fair. With 52,968 pounds of canned food items collected, the Fair’s Opening Day food drive to benefit FeedMore WNY was the largest one-day drive in the Fair’s history and ranks as Western New York’s largest food drive taking place during the summer. Other numbers include:

 

1,238,456 Total attendance of the 180th Erie County Fair (New All-Time)

 

289,980.50 Combined gross sales of all Fair market animal auctions

 

52,968 Pounds of canned goods collected to benefit FeedMore WNY

 

17,000 Dollars raised by the National Independent Concessionaires  Association and given to four 4-H children during the youth steer auction

 

10,159 Number of competitive exhibits entries including 4-H entries

 

5,404 Number of scheduled volunteer hours by Friends of the Fair

 

3,035 Number of livestock at the Fair (excluding Horse Show & 4-H)

 

2,600 Pounds of meat from livestock auctions donated to FeedMore WNY from dollars raise by the National Independent Concessionaires Association

 

857 Miles traveled in 12 days by model trains in the Grange Bldg.

 

541 Number of free grounds act performances during 12 days of Fair

 

503 Menu items available at Fair

 

179 Number of Friends of the Fair Volunteers/Coordinators

 

167 Number of rides, games & concessions on the Strates Shows Midway

 

113 Number of local bands and community performance acts during the Fair

 

95 Number of years with the James E. Strates Shows

 

86 Members of the Erie County Fair Marching Band presented by Pepsi

 

72 Cooking demonstrations held inside the Fair’s Culinary Arts Center

 

12 The Best Days of Summer in Western New York State

 

Highlights of the 180th Erie County Fair include sold out and recording breaking attendance for a number of concerts at the Gusto Grandstand, an expanded I-Hub Pavilion featuring STEM related activities and displays, new dairy, viticulture and maple sugar exhibits in the Agriculture Discovery Center and the return of the famous Sky Wheel to the midway.

 

During the first weekend of the Fair, the James E. Strates Shows announced that it had broken the all-time, single day gross revenue record at the Erie County Fair on Saturday, August 10th. This single day milestone was just one day of a record-breaking carnival run as the Strates Shows celebrates its 95th year providing the amusements at the Erie County Fair.

 

The Erie County Agricultural Society would like to thank Western New York for its continued support of the Erie County Fair.

 

About the Erie County Fair

 

The Erie County Agricultural Society is a private not-for-profit membership organization. Established in 1819, the Society is the oldest civic organization in Western New York. The mission of the Erie County Agricultural Society (ECAS), sponsors of the Erie County Fair, is to preserve and enhance, by educational endeavors, the agricultural and historical legacy of New York State. The Fair strives to fulfill appropriate aspects of the agricultural, educational, entertainment and recreational needs of Western New York.  The 181th Erie County Fair will take place August 12-23, 2020. (www.ECFair.org)

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Strates Shows Sets Single Day Record at Erie County Fair

2019 Strates Shows Midway at the Erie County Fair, Hamburg, New York
2019 Strates Shows Midway at the Erie County Fair, Hamburg, New York

 

The James E. Strates Shows announced today that it has reached an all-time, single day gross revenue record at the Erie County Fair on Saturday, August 10th. This single day milestone was just one day of a record-breaking opening weekend in Hamburg, New York as the Strates Shows celebrates its 95th year providing the amusements at the Erie County Fair. Gross revenues for the Strates Shows midway are trending 25% over 2018 number.

 

“This past weekend we recorded three, all-time high ridership days. Since 1924, when my grandfather James E. Strates first brought his show to the Erie County Fair, the show has never had a three-day run like the one we just experienced.” said John Strates, Strates Shows Operations Manager. “To say we had the biggest day in our history during our 95th year makes the milestone even more special.”

 

During the 180th Erie County Fair, the Strates Shows “mile long” midway includes 67 rides and over 100 games & concessions. The show is highlighted by the return of the beloved “Sky Wheel” (double Ferris wheel) and the addition of several spectacular rides including the “Claw,” “Frisbee,” the “Avenger,” and the “Crazy Mouse” rollercoaster. These rides join traditional Strates amusements that include the “Big Wheel,” the two-story carousel and Huss manufactured “Pirate.”

 

In addition to new rides, the Strates Shows debuted a new “guest relations” booth located on the midway with the goal of increase customer service satisfaction.

 

The exclusive, 95-year relationship between the Erie County Fair and the Strates Shows is considered a historical milestone in the modern amusement industry as it is considered the longest continuous run of any carnival midway in the United States.

 

About the Strates Shows – The Strates Shows is a 96-year-old family owned business with headquarters in Orlando, Florida. Founded in 1923 by Greek immigrant James E. Strates as the Southern Tier Shows in Elmira, New York, the Strates Shows is considered one of America’s premiere providers of carnival midways. After the death of James E. Strates in 1959, his only son E. James Strates, took over as manager of the company and is still actively involved in its operation. Now in its 9th decade, the Strates Shows are led by the 3rd generation of Strates family members including Susan, Jimmy, Sibyl, Jay and John. Nick Strates, who officially joined the show full-time during the 2015 season, is the 4th generation of the Strates family to continue the tradition.   Over the decades, the Strates Shows has brought many innovations to the carnival industry, including cooperative promotions, a centralized ticket system, advance ticket sales, and, most recently, the FunCard electronic ticketing system that utilizes bar codes to control access to carnival rides on the midway.

 

About the Erie County Fair – The Erie County Agricultural Society is a private not-for-profit membership organization. Established in 1819, the Society is the oldest civic organization in Western New York. The mission of the Erie County Agricultural Society (ECAS), sponsors of the Erie County Fair, is to preserve and enhance, by educational endeavors, the agricultural and historical legacy of New York State. The Fair strives to fulfill appropriate aspects of the agricultural, educational, entertainment and recreational needs of Western New York. The 2019 Erie County Fair concludes on August 18th (www.ECFair.org).

 

2019 Strates Shows Midway at the Erie County Fair, Hamburg, New York
2019 Strates Shows Midway at the Erie County Fair, Hamburg, New York

 

Jay, John & James E. (Jimmy) Strates
Jay, John & James E. (Jimmy) Strates

 

Jay, John & James E. (Jimmy) Strates
Jay, John & James E. (Jimmy) Strates

 

In addition to new rides, the Strates Shows debuted a new “guest relations” booth located on the midway with the goal of increase customer service satisfaction.
In addition to new rides, the Strates Shows debuted a new “guest relations” booth located on the midway with the goal of increase customer service satisfaction.

Erie County Fair 5K Run To Benefit Scholarship Fund

 

The annual Erie County Fair 5K Run, presented by Good Health Saunas, returns to the Fairgrounds on Saturday August 10, 2019 with pistol start at 8:30am. This USA Track & Field (USATF) 3.1 mile route has been certified as the flattest route in Western New York. The start and finish lines are located on the famous “Hamburg Oval” racetrack inside the Gusto Grandstand. The route then proceeds through the picturesque Town and Village of Hamburg featuring a zero percent grade.

 

 

Pre-registration cost is $25 ($30 day of race) and includes preferred, onsite parking, two adult admission passes to the fair and a post-race picnic. The first 500 registrants will receive a commemorative t-shirt.  Registration is now available via www. ECFair.org. Pre-registered participants are encouraged to pick up their race packets on Thursday August 8th from 4:00pm-7:00pm at the Made In America Store located at the McKinley Mall in Hamburg. Participants can still register the morning of the race with race day registration beginning at 7:00am.

 

 

All ages are welcome to participate in the 5K, however, no pets, skateboards, rollerblades or bicycles are allowed on the course. Water stations will be provided. Awards will be given to the top three males and females in each age division.

 

 

The proceeds from the event will benefit the Erie County Agricultural Society Scholarship Fund. Since 2000 the fund has made available over $250,000 in scholarships to students who are pursuing careers in agriculture as well as those who participate in other aspects of the Fair. Past recipients include marching band members, media/marketing interns, concessionaires, volunteers, and exhibitors.

 

 

The Erie County Fair 5K Run is presented by Good Health Saunas with additional support from Tops Friendly Markets, Bryant & Stratton College, Crunch Fitness, Made In America Stores, and Upstate Farms. The event is timed by Race Management Solutions. For more information on the Erie County Fair 5K, please call (716) 649-3900 or email hollys@ecfair.org.

 

 

Note to Hamburg residents: The running of Erie County Fair 5K will facilitate the short closing of Clark Street between McKinley and South Park Avenue on Saturday, August 10th between 8:30am and 8:50am.