By Jennifer Weber
Last weekend, a friend and I set out on a quick afternoon escape from the WNY January Winter doldrums and headed to the Kazoo Boutique Gift Shop, located at 703 South Main Street in Eden. It’s a place we’ve all heard about, right? And perhaps once upon a time visited a decade or two ago. But for me, it was one of those cross off the quirky WNY bucket list places I needed to check out and what better time than right before National Kazoo Day?
Yes, there’s a holiday for everything. The National Kazoo Day website states that the holiday is celebrated “on or about Jan. 28 – or whenever it is convenient to the kazooist.” National Kazoo Day was founded in 1983 “to celebrate the humble kazoo and all the infectious joy it brings to people of all ages.”
One doesn’t need a lot of time to spend at the Kazoo Museum to enjoy the historical goodness found within. Upon entering the building we were greeted by an adorable selection of curated gift shop items that spans through several rooms. Even if you aren’t a kazoo fan, the gift shop is worth a visit to grab a perfect unique present for that last minute event.
The historic kazoo museum and factory is found in the back of the building and highlights the step-by-step way metal kazoos are made alongside snippets of trivia and random factoids and displays of one-of-a-kind specialty kazoos.
Did You Know?
• The very first kazoo was invented in Macon, Georgia in the 1840s.
• Emil Sorg brought the buzzy little instrument to Western New York and created the Original American Kazoo Company in 1916, which began the commercial production of metal kazoos, the only metal kazoo factory in North America, right here in Eden.
• At its height, the factory was producing 1.5 million kazoos annually, using equipment and facilities largely unchanged from its early days in the midst of World War I.
• Most of the original machines and infrastructure are still used to make kazoos the same way today as in 1915.
• The museum is a rare example of a fully operational industrial museum containing over 20 machines that run on one 10-horsepower motor connected with overhead jack shafts and leather belts.
While learning about the history of the kazoo and browsing through the many styles available for purchase, including red and green tractor kazoos and an Eden Corn Kazoo, my favorite part of the visit was having the chance to make my very own kazoo for only $2.99.
After being assisted through the production process, I promptly marched around the museum, humming tunes of joy through my brand new kazoo. Thankfully, no one else was visiting at the time to witness the impromptu concert.
The Eden Kazoo Museum and Gift Shop is currently open three days a week during the winter months, Thursday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information contact (716) 992-3960, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.edenkazoo.com.
Know of anyplace in WNY we should visit for a future article? Email us and let us know!