Get your buns downtown!
Hamburger Festival expecting 5,000 to 6,000 visitors
May 04, 2011 - "Get your buns downtown" is the catchy little slogan on everybody's lips these days as the first-ever Oxford Hamburger Festival draws near.
"People are very excited about it," said Steve Allen, chairman of the festival committee. "We've received very positive comments about it on Facebook."
Organized by the Downtown Development Authority, the Oxford Hamburger Festival will take place Thursday, May 12 through Sunday, May 15 in downtown's spacious southeast quadrant.
"The whole concept of getting people accustomed to coming downtown for the decent weather is really exciting, especially to the business folks," Allen said.
The festival will feature carnival rides all four days; sidewalk vendors; a beer tent with live music and dancing (4 p.m. to 11 p.m. May 13-14); local burger vendors (i.e. Street Burger Bistros from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. May 14); a Best Burger Contest featuring Oxford restaurants ( 1 p.m. May 14); and kids games in Centennial Park (11 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 14).
"A lot of people have said they wanted a carnival back in town, so we'll see if they really do," Allen noted.
Running in conjunction with the Hamburger Festival will be a community-wide garage sale at homes throughout the 1.4-square-mile village. Sales will run May 12-14 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day.
Oxford Community Schools is also hosting a district-wide open house to showcase its educational and athletic opportunities on Saturday, May 14 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
As can be expected, Allen has high hopes for the Hamburger Festival.
"We're anticipating over the course of the four days probably 5,000 or 6,000 people," he said. "That's a very conservative estimate for the first year."
The DDA is anticipating the festival will generate a profit "somewhere around the $20,000 mark," according to Allen.
"One of the reasons that we even attempted to do this festival is we were challenged last year by (DDA board member) Tony Lasher to find events that would help to fund other events during the year," he said. "Based on the track record of carnivals, I think we'll turn a profit this year and help to fund some of the other events in town, so it doesn't have to come out of the general fund."
If the $20,000 profit goal is met, Allen said, "it would kind of set the bar really high for future events in town."
So, why an entire festival centered around hamburgers?
"May is National Hamburger Month," Allen explained. "I thought well, the Cheeseburger Festival's always been very popular in Caseville (Michigan), but we don't want to rip them off. So, we wanted to do something a little different."
Right now, Allen's praying for four consecutive days of gorgeous spring weather next week.
"I'm always worried about the weather in May," he said. "It's very unpredictable. As we've seen here in April, it's been pretty rainy. But I'm hoping we've gotten a good portion of it out of our system."
For more information about the Oxford Hamburger Festival, including a schedule of what's happening each day, please visit www.oxfordhamburgerfestival.com.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.