Photo by Ryan Haidet, WKYC-TV.
AKRON -- Burgers! Burgers! Burgers! The 7th annual National Hamburger Festival takes a bite out of Akron's Lock 3 this weekend to celebrate the juicy goodness of the all-American sandwich.
For two days, guests can sink their teeth into gobs of greasy gastro goodies with more than 30 different hamburger varieties from 17 different eateries.
The event runs Saturday from noon until 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 7 p.m. (Click here for full event schedule).
One of the highlights each year is the hamburger eating contest. While the annual amateur burger battle will be held Saturday, the popular gag-inducing gobble gala takes a professional twist as some of the best stomach stretchers in the country compete on center stage Sunday. Sonya Thomas, better known as the Black Widow, will be among the champion chompers competing in the Major League Eating sanctioned event.
This past July 4, Thomas ate 45 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes -- a world record for female eaters -- during the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island.
If that event doesn't churn your insides, the annual bobbing for burgers contest likely will. With a kiddy pool filled to the brim with ketchup, a small group of competitors will splash their faces into the oozing mess to retrieve foam hamburger patties.
Akron's own safety forces are even gearing up for a trio of contests against each other in the first-ever Fire and Vice Hamburger Throwdown. The competition features the Akron Fire Department versus the Akron Police Department in three events: hamburger eating, a burger cook-off and "bobbing for burgers."
There's also plenty of live music throughout the weekend on Lock 3's main stage.
The family friendly event also features plenty of things for kids to do in the Kids Zone.
But why such a huge burger celebration in Akron? That's because it's the home of Frank and Charles Menches, who according to lore, invented the hamburger sandwich at the New York State Fair in 1885.
Last summer, more than 20,000 people attended the event.
Admission is $5. Children under 48" tall are free.