When: Aug. 18-19 2012
Some of the nation’s greatest hamburgers hit the grill this weekend at Lock 3 Park in Akron, as part of the seventh annual National Hamburger Festival. At the heart of the two-day fest are competitions and contests for pros and amateurs alike. Among them you’ll find everything from a Best Burger Competition for restaurants to the ever-popular Bobbing for Burgers contest which — as you might guess — involves plucking burgers from a vat of ketchup with only your teeth. Other draws include performances by Alex Bevan, the University of Akron Steel Drum Band, and Jimmy Buffett tribute band Changes in Latitude. And what would a burger fest be without a competitive eating contest? Akron firefighter and reigning champ Matt Askea is a fan favorite, but he has some tough competition in the form of Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas. World record holder in a dozen food categories (including fruitcake, asparagus, hard-boiled eggs, cheesecake, and chicken wings), Thomas is a formidable contender. “I’m confident because I like hamburgers,” says the petite Thomas, who earned her nickname for her ability to take down men more than twice her size. “Speed eating is more mental than physical. I have a very strong mind and I don’t like to lose.” Today’s festival hours are noon to 11 p.m. On Sunday, hours are noon to 7 p.m. Get your tickets at the gate for $5; kids under 48 inches are free. The full schedule is on the website. Find them at 200 South Main St.