by ADAM GRUENEWALD
A revised schedule for the 31st annual Zummerfest is expected to pack the crowds in for the two-day event in Hamburg this weekend.
Once a three-day affair, organizers of the Hamburg Lions Club and Hamburg Fire Department Relief Association effort are introducing more events to Zummerfest while eliminating Sunday entirely.
Bruce Gruenhagen, a former president of the Lions Club and member of the Zummerfest organizing committee, said the group wanted to both lessen the impact on its volunteers and avoid conflicts with Father’s Day.
“We’ve been talking about it for a few years,” said Gruenhagen, who has been involved with organizing the event since 2006. “It’s getting harder to find volunteers. A lot of younger folks just aren’t doing stuff.”
Gruenhagen added the three-day festival takes its toll on the volunteers.
“It’s a tiring weekend,” he said. “If you work Friday, Saturday and Sunday plus set up ahead of time… definitely by Sunday, you’re just dragging.”
In addition to the Classic Car Show and Cruise and music by the Castaways on Friday, adult bingo will liven up the evening and raise some funds as well.
“As Lions we do bingo in the fall and the spring in the community hall and that’s always been pretty popular,” said Gruenhagen. “So we thought this could keep people’s interests for a while.”
Saturday will be highlighted by traditional kid favorites such as the antique tractor show, tractor and truck pull and youth baseball games while new events like Texas Hold ‘Em, Circus Clowns and a BBQ contests will enhance the festivities.
“We tried to set up more things to do,” said Gruenhagen. “We got quite a few things in there.”
Texas Hold ‘Em gives card playing enthusiasts another avenue apart from the annual Sheephead tournament, while the clowns from Carson Barnes Circus will give attendees a taste of what’s to come as Hamburg Lions and the NYA Chamber of Commerce are putting on a circus on Sunday, June 30.
“We’re going to be pre-selling tickets to the circus there so that’s kind of a kick-off,” said Gruenhagen.
Two BBQ contests, one with judges and people’s choice, will be sure to satisfy attendees’ curiosity and stomachs.
“You can buy a wristband and you can sample all the pulled pork and ribs,” said Gruenhagen. “These guys will be cooking since early in the morning… I think it will go over pretty well.”
Amidst the changes, Gruenhagen is hopeful Zummerfest will draw a large crowd to support both the Hamburg Fire Department for equipment and Hamburg Lions.
“We do so many different things,” said Gruenhagen, mentioning vision and hearing, camps for kids in need and support for local handicapped-accessible bathrooms in Bi-Centennial Park in Hamburg or national efforts like the tornadoes in Oklahoma.
One major concern at the moment for the group is weather, which organizers hope will cooperate with sunny weather.
“The unfortunate side is this is an event where it really depends on weather,” he said. “If the weather isn’t good we don’t raise a lot of money.”
Friday, June 14:
8 a.m. – City Wide Garage Sales
4 p.m. – Food Stand opens with burgers, hot dogs, walking tacos, french fries, onion rings, root beer floats, ice cream and sweet corn.
5, 7 p.m. – Classic Car Show and Cruise with registration at 5 p.m. and cruise at 7 p.m.
6 to 8 p.m. – Adult Bingo
8:30 p.m. to midnight – Music by Castaways featuring tunes from the 1950’s and 60’s
Saturday, June 15
All Day – Kids Bounce Houses, Antique Tractor Show
8 a.m. – City Wide Garage Sales
9 a.m. – Youth baseball games begin
9 a.m. – Texas Hold ‘Em, Sheephead Tournament
11 a.m. – Tractor and truck pull
Noon – Free youth activities for kids 12 and under with Kids Bingo, coloring contest and a bicycle grand prize
Circus clowns from Carson Brothers Circus
1:30 p.m. – Magic show by Matt Dunn including live animals
2:30 p.m. – Registration for kids pedal pull for ages 4 to 11
3 p.m. – Kids pedal pull begins
4 p.m. – Classic BBQ Contest judging
5 p.m. – People’s Choice BBQ Contest judging
8 p.m. to midnight – Blurred Vision
Contact Adam Gruenewald at [email protected]