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Burger Travel: The Hamburger Festival of Akron, Ohio

Nothing says all-American like a summer food festival in the Heartland, and hamburgers are as American as it gets.
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Nothing says all-American like a summer food festival in the Heartland, and hamburgers are as American as it gets.

The Menches family of Akron, Ohio claims the invention of the burger, so naturally the Hamburger Festival is celebrated annually in the Rubber Capital of the World.

Back in 1885, Charles Menches ran out of pork for the sandwiches he was selling at the Erie County Fair. His meat supplier was reluctant to butcher a hog in the heat and suggested he use ground beef. After seasoning the meat with a little coffee and brown sugar, a star was born.

Their offspring are still in the burger business, so their booth was our first stop at the festival.

WATCH: David experiences everything the Hamburger Feast has to offer!

With bellies full of burger, we were ready for the cook-offs, pageants, music and the perhaps the wackiest competition we've seen yet in all our travels.

When we made our way down to the main stage, we spied a kiddy pool filled with ketchup in front of a sign proudly proclaiming: Bobbing for Burgers!

What could this possibly mean? We learned soon enough when plastic burgers were floated on the red sea, contestants donned goggles, held their hands behind their backs, and duked it out face first in a vat of sticky-sweet goo.

Our kind of fun - as long as someone else is doing it.

WATCH: The craziest competition we've ever seen!

Competitions involving eating massive amounts of food in a short period of time are an American festival staple -- harkening back to county fair pie eating contests -- and we would have been highly disappointed if the Festival's Ohio Hamburger Eating Contest had failed to live up to that tradition.

We were not to be let down by this chow down. Each "eater" was given a plate of ten burgers, bottles of water, ketchup and mustard, and a massive crowd to cheer them on. Their mission: to consume as many hamburgers as superhumanly possible in ten minutes.

It proved to be harder than it sounds, but keep in mind these were full-sized burgers -- bun and all -- and the winner managed to finish seven whole gut bombs and a few bites of an eighth.

WATCH: How many burgers could YOU eat in ten minutes?

It was enough to make us swear off of burgers forever - or at least until next year's festival.

David & Veronica,