By BEN KLEIN
Burgers and Basketball Week kicked off in Warren on Monday before the Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament and the Allegheny Burger Festival this weekend at Betts Park.
Melissa Anderson, Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry director of chamber operations, said she's excited for a weekend of warm weather with a slightly different setup for the second year of the basketball tournament and the burger festival
"It's going to be a great weekend. We're excited to move it to the west end (of Betts Park) and tie it in with the Gus Macker," she said.
The Allegheny Burger Festival will start a day before the basketball games on Friday from 4 to 10 p.m., and will run on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Nine burger vendors will return this year to participate in professional burger judging, and Anderson said the deadline for amateur burger entries has been extended through Thursday.
Weekend grill warriors who want to see if they stack up against the competition during the amateur cook-off Friday night can find a full schedule of events online at www.warrenmacker.com with the entry form under the "Where to eat" link.
Cash prizes and trophies will be awarded for the best traditional beef burger, best veggie burger and best non-traditional burger, such as seafood, game and poultry. The grand prize winner will also receive a cash prize and 50 pounds of ground beef from Thorne's BiLo.
Preparation and cooking will begin at 4 p.m. Friday with turn-in time at 5 p.m., judging at the Bocce Pavilion and awards presented at 7 p.m.
A number of hamburger vendors will return this year including My Daddy's Concessions from Pittsfield; McNutters Restaurant from Lander; Wells Hog Wild BBQ Company from Warren; D&K Concessions from Salamanca, N.Y.; Mojos Tacos from Atlanta, N.Y.; and U Got Munchies from Philadelphia.
New to the festival are MoRae Concessions from Gibsonia, Shooters BBQ from Russell and Fowlers from Sinclairville, N.Y.
Judging for the professional burger vendors will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Anderson said nearly 200 teams have registered for the basketball tournament this year, and volunteers are still needed, especially for scorekeepers. Anyone interested in volunteering for the basketball tournament should contact Anderson at Manderson@wccbi.org, Council on Tourism director John Papalia Jr. email@example.com or at 723-3050.
Registration for the Gus Macker basketball tournament will run from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday and 7 to 9 a.m. on Saturday at Betts Park.
Rachel Harvey will sing the national anthem at 8 a.m. Saturday during the opening ceremonies.
The slam dunk competition will be held at 4:30 p.m. Saturday and entry is $5 per person; all proceeds will benefit the Warren County Chapter of the Red Cross.
A non-denominational sunrise worship service will take place at 7 a.m. Sunday at Betts Park.