Summer may be winding down but the food festivities have yet to receive the memo. Even as leaves start to float to the ground, changing from vibrant greens, purples, pinks and yellows to burnt amber, rust and browns, we cling to the last bit of warm ocean breezes and fragrant blossoms. Store fronts are already stacking pumpkins together around their cornstalk wigwams and cooler crisp air has slowly worked its way in. It’s an exquisite work of nature as the scene unfolds in front of us.
Another exquisite work of nature–watching our local chefs and restaurants create amazing recipes with local foods from Mother Nature.
Hamburg Oktoberfest: Interestingly the history behind the original Oktoberfest started with a Prince falling in love….not with food, but with a Princess. Oktoberfest began October 12, 1810 with the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig, later King Ludwig I. His marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen was celebrated in Bavaria. On October 17, five days after the marriage, a large festival was held in front of the Sendlinger Tor, one of the gates leading to Munich. Included in the festivities were horse races that became an Oktoberfest custom lasting until 1938. In 1811 an agricultural fair was added and by 1818 beer pubs were included along with performers. It became a great tourist attraction and a way for visitors to learn about Bavaria, its rich culture, and its people. In 1887 lederhosen and dirndls became the traditional garb for festival goers. With the Oktoberfest theme spreading to Munich and beyond, in the 1930’s villages and cities across the world started holding the festival in September rather than October due to milder weather. Of course, we only pay attention to the wursts of beef, chicken, veal or pork, sauerkraut, potato salad, cabbage, onions, and of course, Bavarian pretzels that will delight our pallets.
This Saturday, September 12th, in the Village of Hamburg NY, Oktoberfest is alive and well. Starting at 3:00, (a good thing due to some damp weather moving into the region), beer tents, live music, a classic German car show, and local restaurants offering up their take on traditional German foods will all be found at the Hamburg Memorial Park in the scenic village of Hamburg.
Beautiful fire pits will be ablaze, so rain or shine, come for the food, stay for the fun.
Taste of East Aurora: The fourth annual food festival takes place this Saturday, September 12th, from 11:00-5:00. It will feature the 25 Greater East Aurora Restaurants and food vendors presenting tastings of their unique menu items. The event runs along Main St. in East Aurora and will feature truly tantalizing foods from such restaurants as Arriba Tortilla, Rick’s on Main, Brothers Restaurant and Pub, Medici House and Riley Street Station.
What makes East Aurora truly unique is the rich history that lifts up this quaint sleepy village. Travel some of its brick roads and let its forefathers tell you their stories. Before becoming President of the United States, Millard Fillmore lived in East Aurora with his wife Abigail from 1826 to 1830. The house he built in East Aurora while practicing law in the beginning of his political career is currently maintained by the Aurora Historical Society. The 1825 structure has been restored and features some original Fillmore furniture of the era, as well as items from Fillmore’s presidential years.
The founder of the infamous Roycroft Movement, Elbert Hubbard, also lived in East Aurora during the turn of the twentieth century. Hubbard and his wife died on board the RMS Lusitania in 1915. One of the town’s most famous landmarks, The Roycroft Inn, has been converted from the Hubbard’s original Print Shop to an inn that opened its doors in 1905 to accommodate the influx of famous visitors attracted by Hubbard’s ideas as well as the books. Take a peek inside and you will see Mission-style furniture and metal-ware produced by the 500 Roycroft artisans. The Roycroft Campus was granted National Landmark Status in 1986 and was re-opened in June 1995 through the support of the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation. Completely restored, it is a great place for dining and accommodations. For more on the food at the restaurant see my review here–The Roycroft Inn.
As someone who used to live in East Aurora when I first moved to Buffalo, I can say that this is one of my favorite villages (along with Hamburg) to visit. Not only is it ensconced in charm and grace, but it truly has a unique story and it’s one worth learning about.
If you’ve never been, introduce yourself to these amazing festivals this weekend and find out what the southtowns are all about.