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Burger King 

It's an all-beef blowout at the granddaddy of tributes to America's favorite sandwich.

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The debate about the burger's birthplace still sizzles more than 100 years later. But fast-food aficionados at this weekend's National Hamburger Festival in Akron all agree that the popular American sandwich was born when an enterprising foodie, for on-the-go customers, put grilled ground beef between two slices of bread. To carnivores, the fest is a grease-filled meeting ground to sample the most popular summertime meal, while watching athletes bob for burgers in a baby pool of ketchup. There's also the Big Boy Ohio Hamburger-Eating Competition, in which contestants wolf down as many sandwiches as they can in 10 minutes. And its "Most Creative" contests have spawned burgers shaped like the state of Ohio and a Cleveland Browns dog bone. "Personally, I like a juicy cheeseburger with all the toppings," says festival mastermind Drew Cerza, who also spearheads the National Chicken Wing Festival in Buffalo. "I like a burger so tall that you have to compress it with your hands just to get it to fit in your mouth." Dig in from noon to 10:30 p.m. today and noon to 7 p.m. tomorrow at Lock 3 Live, 200 South Main Street in Akron. Admission is $5. Call 716-565-4141 or visit www.hamburgerfestival.com.
Sat., July 19, 12-10:30 p.m.; Sun., July 20, 12-7 p.m., 2008

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