Plans for Gus Macker tourney, Burger Festival start taking shape

Basketball players, get your teams together and cooks start working on your recipes.

The Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament and the Allegheny Burger Festival will be back at Betts Park on May 17-19.

That leaves teams 69 days to work on their pick and rolls and chefs more than enough time to perfect their burgers.

Warren County Council on Tourism Executive Director John Papalia Jr. and WCCBI Director of Chambers Operations Melissa Anderson are in running full steam ahead in preparation for the weekend.

The setup for the weekend will run similar to last year’s events with the eastern portion of Betts Park open for parking with the basketball courts and vendors on the western end of the park. Besides pushing the vendors back a little more onto the grass, Anderson said it’s almost an identical set-up as last year.

Registration information and updates for basketball teams and vendors can be found online at www.warrenmacker.com and through Facebook at www.facebook.com/warrengusmacker.

Papalia and Anderson said they hope to replicate last year’s success with a number of volunteers to help out with everything from referees, to checking in teams and scorekeeping to helping out on an as-needed basis.

“It would be impossible to run without our volunteers,” Anderson said, adding that the Friends of Warren Basketball and a number of church groups helped last year.

Referees will be paid for their time again this year – $150 for the whole weekend, $75 for a day, and $25 for a half day.

There are two new burger vendors already lined up for this year including Brgr of Pittsburgh which will bring in handcrafted burgers and handspun milkshakes. Mexicali Burrito Co. from Ashville, N.Y., will be in the lineup with its Mexican chili burger. Returning this year are Wells Hog Wild BBQ Co. from Warren and Fowlers from Sinclairville, N.Y.

The National Anthem singing competition will return this year and Papalia said information for the competition will be posted on Facebook and the website in the near future.

Papalia said he’s hoping the number of teams playing in the tournament will grow to 225, up from just under 200 that played last year.

“Going into this third year I feel a little more confident,” he said. “As we grow in teams we need to grow in volunteers as well.”

Anyone interested volunteering or participating in events over the weekend can also contact Papalia at jpapalia@wccbi.org and Anderson at manderson@wccbi.org.