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Mr. Funtober

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My name is Robert Melton and I founded Funtober in 2012. I started this website on nights and weekends while working as an Attorney. This is our third year and every year gets better. If you have comments, suggestions, or complaints about the site, direct them to me. Or just say hello because you are bored!

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Can you believe Labor Day is only a month away? After a few weeks of hot and humid weather here in the Philadelphia area, milder temperatures have moved in to remind us all that fall is right around the corner.

With the cooler temperatures, it is once again possible to enjoy an extended afternoon outside. So we started working on the perfect burger here at Funtober. If all goes well, we will have found the right recipe for a delicious hamburger just in time for a Labor Day picnic. So if you are planning an outdoor bash, you should stay tuned.

When we were growing up, we had a huge backyard and frequently grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. Since I’ve lived in the city for the past few years, I haven’t really had access to a grill to enjoy outdoor cooking. But my parents now have access to a grill in the courtyard of their building so we took advantage of it this weekend.

salsabowl

The first effort on this quest for the perfect burger was a mango apple avocado salsa. It was super easy to make and definitely a change of pace from the traditional lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and ketchup to top a hamburger. It even worked as a chip dip, with the only problem that it was a little bit heavy for our chips so when we went to dip them, they frequently broke in half. Pro tip: use a spoon to dispense onto your chips instead of dipping.

salsaingredients

We started with a gala apple, an avocado, mango, red onion, 2 roma tomatoes, cilantro and a lime for the salsa. We borrowed liberally from this recipe for apple and avocado salsa from Family Spice, leaving out the jalapeno pepper and adding mango instead.

I put my sous chef (thanks mom!) in charge of dicing the ingredients for the salsa while I took a few photographs and then started on the burgers. We were on a bit of a time crunch as we only had the grill reserved for three hours and we burned the first hour on the shopping trip for the ingredients. Fortunately, everything came together pretty quickly and we were hauling things downstairs in no time.

combinesalsaingredients

The lime is the only thing that doesn’t need to be chopped. Squeeze the lime juice onto the combined ingredients.

For the hamburgers, I made bleu cheese burgers. I had high hope for the burgers when I poured the crumbled bleu cheese, parsley, worcestire sauce and onion powder into a bowl with the ground beef, but I was reprimanded by my sous chef for doing it ALL WRONG. Apparently, I was supposed to create a small patty, put the bleu cheese on top of it, and then add another small patty on top to create a pocket of bleu cheese in the center. That was how it was done on the recipe for bleu cheese burgers on Pinch My Salt that I was using as a guide, but I obviously ignored some of the finer points (including the cream cheese).

uncookedburgers

Perhaps that is why we never got the gooey, dripping cheese that you would expect from a bleu cheese burger. I prefer to think that it was because I only put 3 oz. in with the 2 lbs. of meat and there was simpy not enough bleu cheese. Regardless, the burgers were pretty good and definitely a notch above a regular hamburger. On the positive side, the fact that there wasn’t an overwhelming amount of cheese meant that the salsa was able to stand as the heart of the dish. It also leaves room for improvement on the next iteration.

We formed the burgers into 1/3 pound patties to try to match the size of the hearty seeded buns that we purchased, and then ran downstairs to the courtyard to throw them on the grill. We cooked them on a gas grill set to medium. They were on the grill approximately 15 minutes, with a turn in the middle of course to make sure they were evenly cooked.

outdoorgrill

We invited a friend, grabbed a beer and enjoyed a nice Sunday afternoon outdoors. Well worth replicating over Labor Day weekend.

Mango Apple Avocado Salsa
A delicious end of summer burger topping or chip dip.
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 Gala Apple, cored and diced
  2. 1 Avocado, diced
  3. 1 Mango, diced
  4. 2 Roma Tomatoes, diced
  5. 1/4 cup Red Onion, diced
  6. 1/3 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
  7. Juice of 1 Lime
  8. Salt and Pepper
Instructions
  1. Dice and combine the apple, avocado, mango, roma tomatoes, red onion and cilantro in a large bowl.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add lime juice and stir to mix.
  4. Transfer it to a smaller bowl to serve.
Adapted from Family Spice
Adapted from Family Spice
Funtober http://www.funtober.com/

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Progress hit a virtual standstill last week as I was wiped out by a nasty little virus.  It’s hard to work when you don’t even have the energy to get up to get a glass of water.  But that’s just one of the many setbacks that I expect to have on this journey and I’ll persevere.

This weekend, I finished up the list of fall and harvest festivals that I was working on last week.  There’s nearly 300 fall festivals across the United States on the list.  I can’t make any claims that it is comprehensive, but I’m happy to be able to hit publish and fill in the gaps in the research later.

That leaves two tasks next on the to do list.  Finish up the list of festivals organized by state.  And plunge back into the corn maze directory.  About 20% of the nation’s corn crop has been planted so far.  And I’d like to have the corn maze directory out by the beginning of May.

There’s only 151 days until the start of Oktoberfest.  I’ve got to get to work!  Last week’s storm is over and it is time to look for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. ;)

Halfway

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When I posted the information about Oktoberfest, I had only researched the most popular German festivals in the United States.  For the past couple of days, I’ve been working to expand the list to include the other celebrations of Oktoberfest in America.  And I finished the list up last night.

From Maine to Hawaii, you’ll find festivals in September and October to celebrate your German heritage.  Or simply enjoy a good German beer with some bratwurst.  And if you are really looking for a party, try California or Ohio.  So if you can’t fly to Munich, I’ve just posted the next best way to celebrate.

Aubrey enjoying her first liter

 

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It’s perfectly OK if the answer is no.  You still have six months to get in the mood to party during October.  But when the end of September rolls around, you had better have that frown turned upside down!

If you said YES – then you should reserve space on your calendar for one of the fall festivals that I have been researching recently!  I expect that the October festivals that I added today will be some of the more popular ones with Funtober readers.  I added my lists of beer, wine and music festivals for you to check out.  You’ll just have to check them out yourself under the festivals section.

Treasure Island Music Festival

How did you get down here?  You were supposed to go see the fall festivals that I didn’t highlight.  Not intrigued enough to check out the others yet?  Well you are missing out on the opportunity to book a trip to a fun film festival, lift off land in a hot air balloon, or consume gourmet food at a packed street festival.  Don’t be lame – see what other fall festivals you might be missing.

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Happy Easter!  Another major holiday passes in the countdown until the best holiday of the year.  There are 206 days left until Halloween.

I took a few minutes this morning from my Easter celebration to add a new logo to my Facebook page and twitter account.  I expect that I’ll spend the money to have a graphic designer create a more professional logo before September rolls around.  But until that time, this free logo that I created at Logo Snap will work just fine.  What do you think?  Is it appropriately amusing and cheesy enough for Funtober?  Could you do better?

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This morning, I’ve updated the policies and governing legal documents for Funtober.  You should take a few minutes out of your day and check them out.  They govern your use of this website.  So they are kind of a big deal.  I know that most people don’t read them unless they have to hire an attorney for a legal dispute.  But you are bound by them even if you don’t read them.  Because I wouldn’t be able to provide Funtober to you free of charge without some protections in place.  And this legal nonsense is my protection against the people in the world who would take what is essentially free information and sue a guy for them.  Don’t be that person.

If you care, check out the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, Disclosures, Comment Policy and Guest Post Policy.  If you don’t, you are still bound by them but you can now look at this pretty picture of the Supreme Court.  Enjoy!

us supreme court 4.10.06 - 7

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You may have noticed some of the most recent changes here at Funtober.  On Wednesday, I added the Funtober facebook page and twitter account to the sidebar.  Be sure to LIKE and FOLLOW us!  I’ll be haphazardly tweeting and posting updates about the website for the next few months until September rolls around.  At that point, the volume of updates should pick up as I switch to announcing awesome upcoming events that you shouldn’t miss.

In other news, I’ve just added 20 different types of food festivals to the list of things to do in October.  These October festivals are a great way to try fabulous food and enjoy a beautiful fall weekend.  Round up your friends to check them out!  I’ll be adding more fall festivals to the section in the next few months.  As well as publishing a list of festivals by state to help you pick and choose from the festivals closest to your location.  So stay tuned!

Update – April 10 – I’ve now published more festivals!

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One of the events that I am looking forward to this October is my visit to a local farm to get lost in their corn maze.  The Funtober corn maze directory was the first section of Funtober that I worked on, but there are a lot of corn mazes in the United States and I had to move on to other areas before I was overwhelmed.  Don’t worry, though.  Now that the ground is warming up, and leaves are beginning to return to the trees here in Philadelphia, I’ll turn my attention back to corn mazes soon.

Most of us may think of April 1 as a day for practical jokes.  But for American farmers, it is the traditional start of corn planting season.  While this year’s warm weather has allowed for farmers to begin to plant their corn crop earlier than usual, the majority of corn is going to be planted in the next few weeks.  And U.S. farmers are expected to plant more corn this year than has been planted in 75 years.

With thoughts of corn going in the ground, my attention has turned back to corn mazes for the moment.  And you can rest assured that I’ll have the directory and other corn maze content up soon.

Corn field

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I was asked by one of my friends this weekend what this website was about.  Rattling off the domain name has been easy.  Everybody loves it.  But the next two sentences are much harder.  So I thought I would write a quick post about it so that I could just point people to it.

Funtober provides information about all of the fun things to do between Oktoberfest and Halloween.  But there isn’t really a need for more information about these events on the internet, is there?  It’s just a matter of finding all of the information yourself.  So perhaps Funtober is just a better organization of the available information?  But that sells the idea short though.  Whether you have fun at an event is determined by the friends who attend with you.  Perhaps your willingness to attend an event also depends on whether you can find someone that also wants to go.  That is often the case with me.  Shouldn’t there be an easier way to meet new people to attend these events?  Perhaps Funtober will get there.   Or perhaps you’ll find that I am designing and manufacturing Halloween costumes that don’t suck.  Or throwing big parties during October.  The world is filled with possibilities.  Shouldn’t there be a person/website/company that is doing all of the things that I’ve described above?  Maybe one day you’ll find all that here.

Wherever the road takes Funtober, I know where it begins.  By adding information about the events that make October so much fun.  And listening to what else you, my visitors, would find valuable.

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The two sections that I added yesterday were travel and haunted houses.  Today’s addition relates to Oktoberfest.  Since it could go in either festivals or travel, I decided to put it in its own section.  It’s big enough to warrant it.  Six million people attended in Munich last year.  And millions more celebrated outside Munich.

I’ve been wondering recently how many people attended the first Oktoberfest in 1810.  Was it similar to the hype surrounding the Prince William and Catherine Middleton marriage in 2011?  Or the Barack Obama Presidential Oath of Office ceremony in Washington D.C.?  Or was it a tiny event that has grown in size and popularity over the years?

The launch of Funtober will only be celebrated by me, my family, and a few of my closest friends.  But that’s just fine.  I’m positive that we’ll have more fun in October because I took the time to put this together.  And that’s all I really care about anyway.  If other people find it valuable too, that’s just icing on the cake.