Seymour, Wisconsin: Home of the Hamburger

A 60-pound burger, hometown parade, ketchup slides and hot air balloon rally mark the 22nd Annual Burger Fest.

In 1885, a young fifteen-year-old entrepreneur named Charlie Nagreen traveled to the fair in Seymour, Wisconsin with plans to sell meatballs to the folks visiting the agricultural exhibits. But when the meatballs flopped, he devised a new plan by smashing the meat between two pieces of bread so people could eat on the go. Hence, the hamburger made its debut. As many German immigrants lived in the Hortonville area, the popular ground up beefsteak was named after the German city of Hamburg.  “Hamburger Charlie” returned to the Seymour Fair for the next 65 years and also visited other summer events throughout the country. When business was slow, Charlie would strum his guitar, pull out his mouth organ, play a few tunes and sing, drawing a crowd, then after, fill their bellies with the latest food craze. While other towns like Athens, Texas, Tulsa, New Haven and St. Louis claim to be the birthplace of the hamburger, Seymour proclaims it was the first place one was served years before the other town’s were flipping burgers at county fairs.

In keeping with wandermelon’s endless search for scintillating small town events revealing the best of Americana, we thought you might like to hear about the town of Seymour’s 22nd Annual Burger Fest on Saturday, August 7. This summer celebration includes the world’s largest hamburger parade, a hamburger eating contest, car show, games, a weightlifting competition, hot air balloon rally, live music, and 60-pound hamburger feast.

If you love hamburgers, this might be a worthy trek to visit the birthplace of an American culinary staple. Seeing and sampling the massive 150-pounder covered in pickle slices and chopped onions in an oversized bun could be worth the trip alone, but then there’s always the Hamburger Hall of Fame, a nostalgic and historic look at the popular meat.  The town’s other claim to fame: On August 4, 2001 an 8,266 pound burger was cooked up on the mammoth “Charlie Grill,”  which gives new meaning to the word “whopper.”

This Burger Festival runs Saturday, August 7, on Main Street.

Latest posts by Ann Wycoff

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