July 26 is National Bagelfest Day! If you’re wondering what that’s all about and how to celebrate it, you’re in luck! Here at Twin Pines, we’ve done all the bagel-related research for you! So, without further ado, here are eight fun facts about National Bagelfest Day and its history!

  1. National Bagelfest Day was established in 1986 by Murray Lender in Mattoon, Illinois.
  2. Murray was known as the “Bagel Emperor” in the media.
  3. The world’s biggest bagel factory can be found in Mattoon.
  4. Lender’s Bagels was started by Harry Lender, who was later joined by his son Murray. They are credited for bagel industry innovations such as automated production and freezing of the food to aid in wider distribution. Murray also developed the process of pre-slicing bagels prior to freezing.
  5. National Bagelfest Day, while celebrated on July 26 nationally, has also turned into a five-day festival in Mattoon that includes elements such as the Miss Bagelfest Contest, the Bagel Baby Contest, live musical entertainment, and a parade. Unfortunately, 2020’s celebration has been canceled due to COVID-19.
  6. The origin of the bagel isn’t definitively known, but some believe that the breakfast favorite may have come from Germany to Poland in the 1300s. In Poland, they gained popularity when Queen Jadwiga opted for a bagel-like good called an “obwarzanek” during Lent. However, some records lead people to believe that bagels were actually invented in the 1600s.
  7. Bagels made their way to the US through Polish-Jewish immigrants in the 1900s.
  8. Bagels rose to popularity in the US beginning in the 1970s.

We hope you’ve enjoyed these eight fun facts about National Bagelfest Day! We also hope you celebrate this unique food-inspired day by eating bagels, making bagels, or engaging in a combination of the two! Truly, there are so many ways to dress up that bagel of yours—be creative! As part of the celebration, don’t forget to post about it on social media (the designated hashtag is #bagelfestday) and tag us at Twin Pines on Facebook or Twin Pines on Twitter so we can see how you celebrated the day!