People go crazy for these burgers.
And, while you can get them year-round in Bremerton, they’ve been “the fair burger” since 1961.
We’re talking Crazy Eric’s.
“Last year we served 7,000 burgers and 3,300 corndogs,” said owner Darryl Erickson. “In all, we served more than 1,500 pounds of meat.”
Add in the 1,200 pounds of onions and the 2,500 pounds of French fries and you’ve got five very busy days at the fair.
Long known as the place to grab a quick burger near Naval Station Bremerton, Crazy Eric’s permanent location at 701 S. National Ave., opened the same year that they began serving burgers at the fair.
The “hamburger stand” came about because Erickson had been interested in the fast-food business for as long as he can remember.
“I fell in love with hamburgers when I was about 5 years old,” he said. “My father took me to an A&W and I loved the smell of the onions cooking.”
When he became of age, in 1961, he and his brother, Wayne, began Crazy Eric’s. Today Darryl runs the business with his sons Troy and Sean Erickson.
“I love hamburgers,” he said. “I could eat one every day, if it was available — maybe two or three.”
While everyone brags about the burgers, they sell a lot more than just burgers. There’s the homemade onion rings, hot dogs, corn dogs, hand-dipped ice cream milk shakes, floats and sundaes.
Crazy Eric’s has two contracts with the county, to provide food service on the fairgrounds, he said. For the fair, the business pays $7,175 in rent. For other off-season events throughout the year, they pay $17,000. In 2016, they paid the county $24,175 to offer their food at events at the fairgrounds.
“From the very beginning, we have always tried to run our stands with family and offer affordable pricing,” he said. “We are a family business and have been since 1961.”
He has a not-so-favorite memory of the first fair when they set up their stand near the stadium.
“We were looking at it and we thought it looked pretty good,” he said. “We were open about 15 minutes when a bull knocked it over. We had to start all over again.”
Crazy Eric’s will have a location inside the Van Zee Food Circus building at the center of the fairgrounds, another in the Kitsap Pavillon, and four stands at the stadium. In all, there will be about 35 people manning the stands. For the location in Bremerton he has 10 employees year-round.
As for the name, Erickson said it came from their last name.
“When we first opened, we were looking for something that would stick,” he said. “We shortened Erickson to Eric and added the Crazy.”
Being a part of the Kitsap County Fair has always been important to the Erickson family.
“We’re looking forward to the Kitsap County Fair this year as much as we did our first Kitsap fair 56 years ago,” he said.
He’s thankful for the family members and other great employees he’s had throughout the year. And he salutes the fair management and volunteers.
“This community has been rewarded by so many volunteers, excellent fair management and fair employees who have contributed so much to making this five-day event possible for young and old alike,” he said.