Saturday was the 34th Fried Onion Burger Day Festival in El Reno, Oklahoma. It was a really hot day and I chose to wear black and not take a hat. So un-Australian of me.
The Fried Onion Burger Day Festival is a big deal in Oklahoma. They were expecting a crowd of about 25,000 people and had streets blocked off, and food trucks and stalls lined the streets. There were people everywhere despite the midday heat, and the lemonade stands and shave ice were a welcome sight. Our first stop was to buy a hat and some icy cold lemonade, and then we followed the smoky haze and the crowds to watch the cooking of the giant fried onion burger. A mariachi band played on center stage and it was so upbeat. I was the crazy middle-aged woman dancing on her own.
We arrived just as the monstrous fried onion hamburger patty finished cooking, and a team of volunteers topped the meat with a thick layer of pickles and mustard. As much as we wanted to stay to see the whole burger put together, I was battling a migraine, and standing in the heat and smoke were not helping at all.
We didn’t want to leave straight away so we checked out the food trucks and stalls, and dropped in on a few of the local stores that were open. The air conditioning was a treat, but so was the classic car collection that lined one of the main streets.
We were only there for a couple of hours but it was a lot of fun. I think that what stood out the most was the strong sense of community. El Reno is about 30 miles from downtown Oklahoma City, part of the iconic Route 66, and it’s really just a small town on the outskirts of the city. The Fried Onion Burger Day Festival has put El Reno on the map and they’ve turned it into a fantastic day out for the whole family. I’m looking forward to visiting next year to see how it continues to evolve, hopefully without a killer migraine. Classic American small town fun.