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National Bagelfest Day July 26


National Bagelfest Day is observed annually on July 26th.

This crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle bread is very popular in the USA and Canada.  Served with a variety of toppings as well as produced in a variety of flavors, bagel shops are a staple in most communities across the country.

Polish-Jewish immigrants introduced the bagel to the United States. They grew thriving businesses in New York City and throughout the surrounding boroughs. Of course, it wouldn’t take long for bakers to organize. In 1907, the International Beigel Bakers’ Union was created. For decades, Bagel Bakers Local 338 held contracts with nearly all bagel bakeries in and around the city for its workers. 

Until the 1960s, bakeries made bagels by hand. Then Daniel Thompson invented the bagel maker and along came a heated debate of man versus the machine. Which was better, the handcrafted beigel or the manufactured bagel?   

The bagel became more common throughout North America during the last quarter of the 20th century. Credit for the bagels’ spread across the country goes in part to the efforts of bagel baker Harry Lender, his son, Murray Lender, and Florence Sender. Their pioneering efforts led to automated production and distribution of frozen bagels in the 1960s. Murray also invented pre-slicing the bagel.


National Bagelfest Day gives us an opportunity to explore the history behind the bagel and savor the varied flavors. Grab some bagels and your favorite toppings. Post on social media using #NationalBagelfestDay.


Murray Lender, the owner of Lenders Bagels, founded National Bagelfest Day.  In 1986, Murray started the festival in Mattoon, Illinois, home of the world’s largest bagel factory.

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