Plan Now! Save Later! Deals & Discounts for the 180th Erie County Fair

 

There are so many ways to save when attending the 180th Erie County Fair. The Erie County Agricultural Society, sponsors of the fair, encourages everyone to take advantage of the deals and discounts from opening day Wednesday, August 7th until the gates close on Sunday, August 18th.

 

 

Regular daily gate admission is $12 for adult and $9 for seniors (60+). Gate hours are 12pm-10pm on Opening Day Wednesday August 7th and 9am-10pm August 8th – 18th.

 

 

Here are the 10 BEST ways to save money at the Erie County Fair:

 

 

PLAN AHEAD AND SAVE AT THE GATE – The Erie County Fair has teamed up with Tops Friendly Markets to offer advance sale gate admission vouchers. The cost is $7 per adult, $5 per senior (60+). Purchase vouchers at Tops Friendly Markets now through August 6th and redeem them at any Fair gate. Ask your cashier at checkout!

 

 

IT’S GREAT TO BE A KID! – Children 12 and under are ALWAYS free at the Fair!

 

 

FILL THE FOOD BANK & GET IN FREE OPENING DAY! – For the seventh year in a row, the Erie County Fair will partner with the FeedMore WNY (Food Bank of WNY) to help fill their warehouse with canned goods. Fairgoers will gain FREE admission to the Fair on Opening Day, Wednesday, August 7th with the donation of TWO canned food items. Donations will be accepted at all Fair gates beginning at Noon.

 

 

AS SEEN ON TV – Our television partners give you a chance to save big during three special days at the Fair! While you’re at the Fair, stop by their displays to meet your favorite personalities and support partner charities.

WGRZ Channel 2 Day, Wednesday, August 7th. $5 admission (Gates open at noon)

WKBW Channel 7 Day. Tuesday, August 13th. $5 admission all day

WIVB Channel 4 Day, Thursday, August 15th. $5 admission all day

 

 

YOU’VE GOT A TICKET TO RIDE – Take advantage of one price ride days and ride all day for one low price. Purchase a $25 weekday ride voucher (Monday-Friday) in advance at Tops Friendly Markets through August 6th for a $5 savings. Ask your cashier at checkout. $40 weekend wristbands are available at the Fair only. You can also purchase a Strates Shows Fun Card with 70 ride credits for $23. This offer is available at ECFair.org until August 6th.

 

 

THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO SERVE – All Firefighters and Auxiliary Members receive FREE admission with proper ID on Firefighters Day, Friday, August 9th. Veterans, Active Military and Auxiliary Members receive FREE admission on August 11th with proper ID.

 

 

GETTING TO THE FAIR EARLY ON WEEKDAYS PAYS OFF – Arrive before 11am on August 8th & 9th or between August 12th, 14th and 16th and get into the Fair for only $7

 

 

STUDENTS GET SCHOOLED ON SAVINGS – Teens and young adults can meet their friends at the Fair. Students with proper school ID pay just $7 after 5pm every day.

 

 

COME HUNGRY – During the Taste of the Fair on Monday, August 12th, over 100 vendors will be offering food items for just $2.00. This is the perfect opportunity to try that food you always wanted to. Other food discounts during the Fair include our $6 commemorative, souvenir mug featuring $3.00 refills all day at participating vendors. Buck-A-Roos, a concession stand near Kiddieland, features 10 items for $2 each. Unlike other major WNY attractions, concerts or sporting events, Fairgoers can bring in coolers with food and drink and, set up for the entire day at one of our many picnic areas (no alcohol or glass bottles please). Visit ECFair.org starting August 1st to download 30 food coupons for Fair vendors as an extra bonus.

 

 

LISTEN TO THE FREE MUSIC – There is free, live entertainment all over the Fairgrounds! Join us for our THREE free Gusto Grandstand Concerts on Thursday, August 8th featuring Foghat, Friday, August 9th with The Petty Breakers and Thursday, August 15th, with Diamond Rio. In addition, the Gusto Grandstand will feature FREE admission for the North American Drone Masters on Sunday, August 11th and FreeStyleMX.com on Tuesday, August 13th. All of these events are included with your gate admission.

Flaming Hot Cheetos Fries, Hot Candy Wings & Luv Puffs – New Food at the Fair

 

Flaming Hot Cheetos Fries, Hot Candy Wings, Pierogi Poutine and Luv Puffs are among the new foods on this year’s lineup during the Best 12 Days of Summer.

 

 

On Wednesday, August 7th, the gates of the 180th Erie County Fair will officially open to welcome over 1 million hungry fairgoers. During the 12-days of the Fair, the Fairgrounds plays host to over 500 food items available at 125 food stands. This year’s bill-of-fare ranges from time-honored regional favorites to limited edition, deep fried novelty treats only found at the Fair.

 

 

New items have been added to the menu and are part of the Fair’s New Food Showdown. Fair food fans will again be able to vote for the “Best New Food at the Fair” in the Erie County Fair App. Voting will begin opening day August 7th and continue thru August 13th. The winner will be announced on Thursday, August 15th. Past champions have included Mineo & Sapio’s Chorizo Ciabatta Sandwich (2015), Mark’s Pizza and Subs’ Deep-Fried Bologna Bites (2016), Babcia’s Pierogi’s Crab Stuffed Mushroom Pierogi (2017) and Apple Quesadilla by Jack’s Delicious Taco in a Bag (2018).

 

 

This year’s new fair foods will not disappoint Fairgoers with a sense of culinary adventure. Items in the New Food Showdown include:

 

  • Bacon Cheeseburger Poutine by Poutine Gourmet
    • Fresh French fries covered in a brown Canadian gravy and melty cheese curds, topped with bacon and ground beef.
  • Brisket Nachos by Dre’s Place BBQ
    • Brisket chopped and served on nacho chips, with cheese and our signature sauce drizzled on top (spice it up with jalapeno peppers).
  • Buffalo Chicken Banana Peppers by Salvatore’s Pizza
    • A Buffalo match made in heaven! Banana peppers stuffed with buffalo style chicken filling.
  • Chicken Feta Fries by Venus
    • Marinated chicken breast on top of a bed of steak cut fries, topped with feta cheese, garlic sauce, and Greek dressing.
  • Hot Candy Wings by BW BBQ
    • A new twist on an old favorite! Chicken wings tossed in a hot candy sauce.
  • Mac & Cheese Sundae by Mineo & Sapio
    • Elbow macaroni smothered in our four-cheese sauce with red and green peppers, caramelized onions, sausage “sprinkles,” topped with traditional red sauce and a meatball “cherry” on top.
  • Pierogi Poutine with Shredded Pot Roast by Babcia’s Pierogi
    • Babcia’s potato cheddar pierogi topped with cheese curds, shredded Guinness pot roast and savory gravy to make the ultimate poutine.
  • Potato Butts by Renaissance Lodge Curly Q’s
    • Deep fried potato slices garnished with your choice of cheese and bacon, sour cream and chive, or hot sauce.
  • Soba Noodle Stir-Fry with Sweet Teriyaki Chicken by Wok on the Wild Side Foods
    • Wok-fried soba noodles with market fresh vegetables glazed in our signature sweet teriyaki sauce and served with sweet teriyaki chicken.
  • The Flaming Hot Cheetos Fries by Big Kahuna’s
    • Hot, freshly made fries drizzled with cheddar cheese sauce and finished with Flaming Hot Cheetos to bring some heat to this original treat.

 

New for 2019, “Sweets & Treats” has been separated into its own “New Foods Showdown” category. Menu items include:

 

  • Caramel Crack Fries by Big Kahuna’s
    • Crispy Fries covered with salted caramel and rolled cinnamon sugar, with whipped cream and fruity pebbles on top to complete this treat.
  • Luv Puffs by Tropical Luv
    • A popular festival and street market dessert originating in Amsterdam. This treat resembles mini, fluffy pancakes. The batter is made fresh each day! Pancakes served with gourmet toppings like Nutella Crunch.
  • Loganberry Funnel Cake Corn Dog by Chester’s Gators & Taters
    • A hot dog dipped in funnel cake batter, deep fried to perfection, drizzled with loganberry syrup and a dash of powdered sugar. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert all in one!
  • Not Your Mother’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake by Cheesecake Guy
    • Two slices of peanut butter cheesecake sandwiched around a layer of loganberry jelly with a drizzle of peanut butter, more delicious jelly and a side of potato chips.
  • Strawberry Mezza Luna by Salvatore’s Pizza
    • A classic calzone crust filled with strawberries and cream cheese… a sweet treat sure to please!
  • Waffle Bombs by Waffle Bomb
    • Chocolate covered jumbo strawberries on a stick, dipped in Belgian waffle batter, deep fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

 

Along with the “fairgoer’s vote” for the best, new food of the Fair, a panel of guest judges will sample and vote on their favorites during our New Food Showdown Judging Show that will take place on Thursday, August 8th at 11a. The panel will consist of culinary professionals from the Niagara Falls Niagara Culinary Institute, SUNY Erie’s Culinary Arts Program, Delaware North and Artisan Kitchens & Bath along with media judges including Business First’s Jim Fink, Spectrum News’s Alex Haight, WGRZ’s Kate Welshofer, WBEN’s Brian Mazurowski, WKBW’s Jeff Slawson, WIVB’s Dave Greber and 97 Rock’s Steve Tripi.

 

2019 marks the 4th year of the Erie County Fair’s participation in the Independent Health Foundation’s Healthy Options program. Participating restaurants have signed on to offer a healthy menu item that has been approved by the Independent Health Foundation. We are proud to announce that each year the list of Healthy Options increases with menu items approved by dieticians. Highlights include:

 

 

  • Avocado Double Chocolate Cookies by All About the Sugar
  • Fresh Tomato, Pepper and Onion Salad by Chiavettas
  • White Pizza on Wheat Dough by Pizza Amore
  • Caprese Salad & a Spinach & Tomato Pie by Salvatore’s Pizza

 

 

Growing each year in popularity, the “Taste of the Fair” Food Festival will return on Monday, August 12th.  Fair vendors will feature over 125 “taste” sized portions for only $2. A complete listing of items and locations will be available on the Fair’s website, mobile app and on menus located at Fair gates the day of the event.

 

 

Adult fairgoers will be able to wash down all their Fair food with one of three, limited edition beverages. Beers include a Light German Lager, voted the “Best of Show” winner during the Erie County Fair’s 2019 Home Brew Competition and the Erie County Fair American Pale Ale based on the 2015 championship recipe. In addition, the Inaugural Erie County Fair Cider with a recipe provided by home cider maker Jeffrey Clift of Buffalo, produced by Black Bird Cider Works will be available at the Fair’s beer gardens.

 

 

The Erie County Fair will partner with the FeedMore WNY (Food Bank & Meals On Wheels) to help fill their warehouse with canned goods. Fairgoers will gain FREE admission to the Fair on Opening Day, Wednesday, August 7th with the donation of TWO canned food items. Donations will be accepted at all Fair gates beginning at Noon.

 

 

Following the conclusion of the 180th Fair, on Wednesday, September 18th, the Fair will celebrate “National Birth of the Burger Day.” The day has been set aside to commemorate the invention of the hamburger sandwich that took place during the 1885 Erie County Fair by Frank and Charles Menches of Canton, Ohio.  During the Fair, Weidner’s BBQ located on the Avenue of Flags will feature their culinary tribute to the birth of America’s favorite sandwich with the “1885 Burger.”

 

Our Fair Rolls on Rails! 2019 Train Day Scheduled for July 31st

Limited edition, commemorative “Train Day 2019” buttons will be given to fairgoers (while supplies last)

 

For generations, the annual arrival of the James E. Strates Shows train has been a highly anticipated occasion for fairgoers and enthusiasts of Americana. The movement of the colorful freight train filled with wagons and amusement rides into the Village of Hamburg is a signal that opening day of the Erie County Fair is just a week away.

 

On Wednesday, July 31st the Fair Train will arrive at the historic Erie Railroad Depot in Hamburg as the Strates Shows begins its 95th season with the Erie County Fair. The depot is located at the corner of Union and Scott Streets (4 Scott Street). The train will arrive between 11:30a and Noon.

 

The train will begin the final leg of its journey to Hamburg using Buffalo Southern Railroad track. As the train arrives at the depot it will be greeted by the Erie County Fair Marching Band, Fair Bear, and Erie County Fair officials.

 

Prior to the train’s arrival, the public may receive a free, limited edition commemorative “Train Day 2019” button and a bag of Poppin’ Bob kettle corn (while supplies last).

 

The exclusive 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.

 

To commemorate “Train Day 2019,” the United States Postal Service will feature a specially designed cancellation mark and two stamps that were recently issued on the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. The Post Office will be on site at the Hamburg Depot from 10a-2p selling these stamps as well as cancelling mail using an Erie County Fair Train Depot postmark (while supplies last).

 

 

USPS will be on hand with a specially designed cancellation mark (10a-2p).

 

Erie County Fair Stakes Races Scheduled For Wednesday, July 10th

The 2019 Erie County Fair Sire Stakes Races will take place at the historic “Hamburg Oval” on Wednesday, July 10th at 1pm. This event is free and open to the public. The New York Sire Stakes promote the breeding, buying, and racing of Standardbred horses in New York State, and are administered by the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund.

 

 

The Erie County Fair Race is part of a series of non-pari-mutuel betting harness races hosted at county fairs across New York State. The races are open to eligible two and three-year-old New York Standardbreds and are separated into nine divisions based on age and gait. The start of the race is considered the first official event of the 180th Erie County Fair that opens its gates on Wednesday, August 7th.

 

 

Harness racing at the Erie County Fair is a tradition that dates back to the 1850s when the Fair was held at various racetracks across the County. Racing at the “Hamburg Oval” pre-dates the Erie County Fair’s move to its current location at the Hamburg Fairgrounds as the site was originally home to the Hamburg Driving Grounds.

 

Who Will Be the 2019 Ultimate Fairgoer?

 

Are you or someone you know deserving of the title of the greatest “Fair Fan” in Western New York? The Erie County Fair is now accepting nominations for someone to be named the 2019 Ultimate Fairgoer.

 

Established in 2005, the Erie County Fair’s Ultimate Fairgoer honor is bestowed each year on an individual who lives and breathes the Erie County Fair all year long. The chosen candidate is not only passionate and enthusiastic about the Fair but actively promotes and shares their love with family, friends and the community.

 

Nomination forms are currently available on the Fair’s website, https://bit.ly/2XiFzjv and must be submitted by Thursday, July 25th. Nominations must include a short essay as to why the candidate, above everyone else, deserves the title of “Ultimate Fairgoer.” Past winning nominations have included photos, references, news clippings or collateral materials that provide further background. Management and staff of the Erie County Agricultural Society and/or the Erie County Fair are not eligible.

 

The 2019 Erie County Fair Ultimate Fairgoer will be officially announced during a ceremony outside of the Fair’s McKinley Gate on Opening Day, Wednesday August 7th at 11:30am.

 

Past honorees are:

2005 – Barbara Brader, Hamburg

2006 – Sue Montgomery, Hamburg

2007 – Terry Nowatka, Colden

2008 – Father Ray Donohue, Fredonia

2009 – Marion Wittmeyer, Lawtons

2010 – Paulette Smith, Hinsdale

2011 – Helene Edie, Hamburg

2012 – Tim Beasor, Pompano Beach

2013 – Marty Brownsey, West Seneca

2014 – Sandy Kristka, Hamburg

2015 – Mary Ellen Bossert, Hamburg

2016 – Jimmy Barrett, Bel Air, MD

2017 – Mary Roberts, Hamburg

2018 – Judy Wilder, Hamburg

 

Summerific Savings on Advance Gate Admission & One Price Ride Days at the 180th Erie County Fair

Image by Tom Burns www.tomburnsphotography.com

 

Starting Monday, July 1st fairgoers will be able to save money preparing for the BEST 12 Days of Summer! Tops Friendly Markets has teamed up with the Erie County Fair to offer discounts off gate admission.  Savings are over 40% off the cost at the gate (2019 full price admission is $12 adults, $9 seniors). The discount sale cost is $7 per adult and $5 per senior (60+). You can purchase vouchers from checkout cashiers at any participating Tops Friendly Markets locations now through Tuesday August 6th and redeem them at any Fair gate upon arrival (valid everyday).

 

Fairgoers can also save on all the classic carnival fun on the famous James E. Strates Shows Midway during Weekday One Price Ride Days on Aug 7th-9th and August 12th-16th.  Vouchers can be purchased in advance for just $25 (save $5) until August 6th. New this year is the return of the famous Sky Wheel (double Ferris Wheel) to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the Strates Shows at the Erie County Fair. See a complete list of rides and height requirements at www.ECFair.org.

 

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 180th Erie County Fair will be held August 7th – 18th, 2019. (www.ECFair.org).

Nominate Vets & Active Military to Be Honored During Our Daily Flag Retreat Ceremony

 

The 180th Erie County Fair will honor veterans and active military during its daily flag retreat ceremony at Slade Park. Now in its second year, this patriotic tradition will begin on Wednesday, August 7th at 6:30p and continuing each evening during the 12-day run of the Fair.

 

“We are asking fairgoers to pause and reflect on our great nation and to remember the men & women for their service, sacrifice and dedication to protecting our country,” said Jessica Underberg, Erie County Fair CEO. “We feel this is a wonderful way to extend the mission of our Veterans Day committee to span the entire Fair.”

 

During each 8-10 minute ceremony, participating fairgoers will be asked to join in the Pledge of Allegiance. As a lone bugler sounds retreat, an American flag will be lowered and folded by an honorary color guard from a local VFW, Amvets or Legion post. The flag, which was flown during that day at the Fair, will be presented to a veteran and/or an active member of the military who will be the “Flag Retreat Honoree of the Day.” The Erie County Fair Marching Band will perform the “Star Spangled Banner,” a chorus of “God Bless America” and the “United States Armed Forces Medley.” Made In America Stores will be donating “made in the USA” flags to be used in the daily presentation.

 

“For Americans, there’s no higher honor than to serve our nation’s military,” said Mark Andol, founder and owner of Made In America Stores. “As Americans, there’s no greater privilege than to say thank you. We are proud to support, what we hope, will be a new tradition at the Fair.”

 

To nominate a veteran or active member of the military to be named “Flag Retreat Honoree of the Day,” the public is being asked to complete a nomination form available at any Made in America Store location or at the Fair’s Main Office. Those chosen must be available to attend one of the Flag Retreat Ceremonies between August 7th-18th at 6:30p. They will receive a full-sized American flag, (4) fair admission passes, a parking pass, a Strates Shows midway card and $20 in meal tickets. Deadline for name submissions is July 26th.

 

The Erie County Fair Flag Retreat Ceremony is sponsored by Made In America Stores.

Erie County Fair’s Popular Vet Camp Returns In 2019

 

The Erie County Agricultural Society will again offer children between the ages of 11-14 the opportunity to work first-hand with veterinarians and animals. The Erie County Fair Vet Camp, a half day education immersion experience, will take place on Tuesday, August 13th and Thursday, August 15th. Sessions will focus on a variety of learning disciplines that include:

 

Pet Wellness & First Aid: Children will learn about general pet welfare and what to do in an emergency situation.  Participants will gain an understanding on what to look for when a pet is not feeling well and what should be included in a home pet first aid kit.

 

Dairy Cow Health: Attendees will be exposed to what it takes to be a Farm Animal Veterinarian through activities like how to administer medication, the reading of vitals (heart rate, temperature, respiratory) and how to check for healthy rumen sounds.

 

Small Ruminant Farm Animals:  Sessions will gain knowledge on how to approach and handle sheep and goats, check for healthy digestion, respiratory and proper nutrition. Children will also have the chance to work one on one with an animal.

 

The program is limited to three sessions that will accommodate 30 children each.  Registration is now open and will be available on a first come first serve basis. The cost for participation is $10 per child. Each participant will receive a Vet Camp t-shirt, lunch and will take home a vet supplies goodie bag. Applicants must be between the ages of 11-14 by January 1, 2019 with proper documentation (copy of birth certificate). Applications are now online at www.ecfair.org and must be postmarked by June 21st to be eligible for consideration. Questions may be directed to the Fair’s Agriculture Education Office at (716)649-3900 ext. 6499 or by emailing Education Coordinator Amber Klein at aklein@ecfair.org.

 

The 2019 Erie County Fair Vet Camp program is sponsored by Medaille College and the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society.

WNY Preview Classic this Weekend at the Fairgrounds

 

The Erie County Agricultural Society is proud to present the 19th Annual Western New York Hog & Lamb Preview Classic. The show is scheduled to take place inside the Agriculture Discovery Center at the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg, New York May 31st to June 2nd. Over $6,000 in cash awards and premiums will be presented during this New York Livestock Circuit approved show.

 

This is a National Junior Swine Association (NJSA) recommended show that is open to exhibitors of all ages. The show’s goal is to provide a competition experience prior to showing at local county and/or state fairs this summer. The schedule for the weekend includes:

 

Friday, May 31st, 1p – Youth Livestock Judging Event

Friday, May 31st. 5p – Junior Skill-A-Thon

Saturday, June 1st, 8a – Hog & Lamb Shows #1

Saturday, June 1st, 2p – Goat Show

Sunday, June 2nd, 8a – Hog & Lamb Shows #2

 

The hog shows will be judged by Mr. Greg Krahn of Westfield, IN and Mr. Quest Newberry of Bryan, TX. Judging the lambs will be Mr. Cooper Bounds of Thorntown, IN and Mr. Denton Lowe of Amber, OK.  Mr. Lowe will also be judging the goat competition.

 

For more information visit www.the-fairgrounds.com and click on “Livestock/ Equine Events.” You can also call the Fairgrounds at (716) 649-3900. The Western New York Hog & Lamb Preview Classic is sponsored by the Erie County Agricultural Society.

Happy National Hamburger Day

A New Book... by Christopher Carosa, "Hamburger Dreams" – How Classic Crime Solving Techniques Helped Crack the Case of America’s Greatest Culinary Mystery... provides detailed information about Charles and Frank Menches at the Erie County Fair.
A New Book… by Christopher Carosa, “Hamburger Dreams” – How Classic Crime Solving Techniques Helped Crack the Case of America’s Greatest Culinary Mystery… provides detailed information about Charles and Frank Menches at the Erie County Fair. Learn more at: https://bit.ly/2Wafesc

 

Today (May 28th) is “National Hamburger Day,” a day of great importance to Western New York and the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, New York. It was at the 1885 Erie County Fair that the hamburger sandwich was invented by Frank and Charles Menches of Canton, Ohio.

 

“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 concessionaire 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.

 

National Birth of the Burger Day (September 18th)

 

In addition to “National Hamburger Day” on May 28, Western New York also annually celebrates “National Birth of the Burger Day” on 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.