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Welcome spring in Oxford with Hamburger Fest

August 04, 2010 - From the classic cheeseburger with all of the fixings to a steakburger topped with mushrooms and swiss, the classic round patty of meat known as the hamburger is one of the most versatile options on a menu.

And starting next May, downtown Oxford will hold a weekend festival geared toward celebrating the hamburger.

According to Festival Chairman Steve Allen, the Hamburger Festival will be the unofficial kickoff to the warm weather season.

Allen called it a "celebration of Oxford based around the hamburger."

"It will be the weekend after Mother's Day and there will be a carnival, live entertainment, a beer tent, food and all kinds of things," Allen said.

"Right now, I am looking at the carnival possibly running four days," he said. "The beer tent will be on a Friday and Saturday and burger cook-off competition and those kinds of things will be on Saturday."

Allen stated the event will take place on the couple of parcels of Downtown Development Authority property in part of the parking lot and along Randy Fox Dr. behind the finance center over at the bank.

The idea got started after Allen heard of the Cheeseburger Festival in Caseville, MI.

"That (Cheeseburger Festival) is always towards the end of the year, and since May is actually national hamburger month, we thought we would do something in conjuncture with national hamburger month," Allen added.

Allen said that since most of the festivals start in June, the Hamburger festival would allow for families to get out and do an activity together.

"We kind of wanted to get a jump on things and get people in the habit of coming to downtown Oxford," Allen added. "It will be a good time. We are gearing it towards being a family event."

The event was well received when he first mentioned the idea to the DDA.

"We are kind of in a new area of trying to create self-sustaining events in terms of creating funds rather than spending funds, and this is one of our first attempts to do that," Allen said.

"I applaud the fact that we have been tasked by the DDA in looking for events that generate revenue rather than spend the revenue," he added.

He added some of the ways they would possibly generate revenue is through the carnival. The festival would partner with a carnival ride operator company and receive a percentage of the generated revenue.

"There is very little cash outlay for us to do this. Most of it is income based on the things that we are going to select to do," Allen said.

One of the ideas that Allen is thinking about is having some of the local businesses competing in a best burger competition and allow people to taste the burgers and vote on the winner.

Allen indicated that he is open to suggestions for the event. "My committee is going to meet in August to discuss it further and start to pin things down."

Got an idea for the festival, contact Steve Allen at sallen8961@gmail.com.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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