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Food drive, Blast Off Hunger spark big day at Hamburg Fairgrounds

Volunteers spent their time throughout the day collecting drive-up food donations at the main gate off South Park Avenue before the fireworks.

HAMBURG, N.Y. — In any other year, this would have been a great night to head to the Erie County Fair.

But even though the COVID pandemic took that event off the calendar this year, Channel 2 and others teamed up with FeedMore Western New York to provide a fun evening just the same.

On Saturday, both a large fireworks display and a food drive were planned on the fairgrounds in Hamburg.

The Erie County Agricultural announced on August 20 that the event helped with the collection of approximately 13,000 pounds of food at the Erie County Fairgrounds.  

Some volunteers spent their time throughout the day collecting drive-up food donations at the main gate off South Park Avenue, and they would stay there until the fireworks display, Blast Off Hunger, was scheduled to begin later on in the night.

There were also fair food offerings from vendors, so you could enjoy it from your own car.

To get in, you needed to donate a bag of nonperishable food, and during the pandemic, there's been a greater need than ever for those donations, and the numbers prove it.

About 55 percent more food has been distributed as compared to last year, and 6.6 million pounds have been offered to those in need since March.

"We definitely are down," Anne McKenna of FeedMore WNY said, "In the amount of donated food that we've received.

"But food drives like this one at the Erie County Fair today, even though they couldn't hold their traditional food drive that they normally do for us on the first day of the fair, this supplemental food this donated food is really going to help us make sure that the Western New York community gets fed."

And while school districts across Western New York have been distributing food during the spring and summer, various school return plans could confuse some people about that distribution.

As always, FeedMore WNY is prepared to help any people in need.

The gates for the fireworks open at 8 p.m., with the fireworks themselves going off at about 9:30 p.m.

Channel 2 is a proud sponsor of this event.