Each year at the end of summer, the small, thumb-town of Caseville plays host to the 10 day-long Cheeseburger in Caseville festival. For fourteen years Caseville has capped off the summer season in true Jimmy Buffetesque style with cool beach breezes, icy margaritas, and, of course, a few cheeseburgers to enjoy along with all the other festivities.
The festival is a true grassroots effort which began in 1999 as a three-day celebration proposed by local Caseville resident Lyn Bezemek and put on by the Caseville Chamber of Commerce as a way to end the summer with a bang. That first Cheeseburger in Caseville, as it became to be known, drew in nearly 5,000 people, a respectable attendance that grew over the following thirteen years to a staggering 200,000 people flocking in from all over the country to the lakeside town.
At everymoment there is something going on, kettle drums sounding off in the distance, crafts and activities on every corner and the effervescent aroma of cheeseburgers sizzling on grills. As Caseville Chamber of Commerce Vice-President Sherri Kraft attests, “Every age group has something to do everyday. Bands and Musicians are playing Jimmy Buffet style music day and night.” It truly seems that during Cheeseburger in Caseville, the whole town is set to island time.
Let it be known, I’ve been a huge fan of this festival for several years and it is always a blast.
The events docket this year is no less event-packed. Returning again, and always drawing a big crowd of spectators and participants are the cardboard boat races, where families and teams enter their respective duct-tape dinghies in a paddle race along the lake. Another Cheeseburger favorite making a return is The Parade of Fools. “Our most popular event would have to be the parade,” says Kraft. “We have over 100 entries for floats this year and usually have over 60,000 people attend.” On top of old favorites, Cheeseburger in Caseville is also putting out some new attractions, not the least of which is a summer staple. “New for 2012 will be a fireworks display on Saturday night August 18th.”
But who am I kidding? The best thing about Cheeseburger in Caseville for me is the eponymous burgers. And according to Kraft, I can’t be the only one who feels that way. “The main draw of course is our cheeseburgers. Over 340,000 sold in 2011, from regular old cheeseburgers to specialties.” And boy is there never a want for more, with local restaurants, businesses or even just amateur chefs putting out some pro eats, there is always a unique burger to suit any tastes. Of the plethora of ground beef, cheese, and whatnot that can be found in town, there is also chosen a winner, the supreme burger of the year that is often insanely loaded but always insanely tasty.
So people, get excited, because Cheeseburger in Caseville is just around the corner. From August 10th to 19th, plan on making a trip to Key North and discover your inner parrot-head.
–Christopher Dier-Scalise, Feature Writer
For a full list of events and attractions, pop on over to the Caseville Chamber of Commerce Website. And for up-to-date coverage on Cheeseburger in Caseville, or just to be friendly, be sure to like them on facebook.