Set to start at 10 a.m. Saturday and end at 3 p.m., the festival grounds at Ballard Park were nearly empty when the gates opened. But, it didn’t take long for people to start trickling in.
The seventh annual Dudie Burger Festival is a fundraiser put together by the Friends of the Museum to raise money and awareness for the Oren Dunn Museum. Its theme comes from one of Tupelo’s oldest style of hamburgers, the Dudie burger, also known as a dough burger.
The Dudie burger was sold in Dudie’s Diner, an old Memphis trolley car that used to be located near Crosstown. It’s a burger that consists of hamburger meat and flour. The flour was added as a way to make the hamburger meat last longer.
Even though the Dudie burger is a blast from the past, the Dudie Burger Festival makes it a modern treat during festival time. Randy Roland, 76, and his grandson, Mark Roland, 16, sat in front of the restored diner that sits on the museum’s property and ate a few burgers.
Roland said he remembers eating at the original diner and even though the price has gone up from 10 cents to $2 a burger, the taste is just as he remembers it.
Even though Mark and Roland both enjoyed the burgers, Mark enjoyed quite a few more than his granddad. Mark’s burger count was four to Roland’s one.
“I like the Dudie burger a lot,” said Mark. “They are different from any burger I’ve had. At first I didn’t think I’d like a burger made with flour, but after I tried it I really enjoyed it.”
Museum Curator Kenneth McGehee said last year they sold 1,500 burgers at the festival and he hoped they could match or increase that number this year.
“The Dudie Burger is our oldest fundraiser,” he said. “It helps us to raise money to do a lot of good things for the museum. We are more of a laid-back festival and I think people really enjoy that.”