Beth Marshall/ The Paisano
The sound of live polka bands and excited chatter were always within earshot. The smell of funnel cake, fried Oreos and sausage filled the air. About one in three people were dressed in lederhosen. This is the norm for the ever-popular Wurstfest held in New Braunfels, Texas.
Wurstfest is a place to eat, drink and be merry. Established in 1961, the festival was originally a day-long celebration of the tastiest local food. Over the past 50 decades it has evolved into a ten-day affair that many look forward to all year.
Senior finance major Miranda Davis attended Wurstfest during opening weekend for the first time. “It’s such a fun place to be no matter the time of day,” Davis said. “The weather was perfect, the carnival was fun and the food was the best part.”
Inside the centrally located Marktplatz (or marketplace), dozens of vendor booths sell anything from food to figurines. Past the Marktplatz is the Wursthalle where live music is played and traditional German dancing is encouraged. Rows of tables are located here so visitors can sit, eat and enjoy the live entertainment. Next up is the Biergarten, which was added to the grounds in 1974, where an assortment of hand-crafted beer can be choosen.
Of all the attractions Wurstfest has to offer, the food continues to be the main one. The New Braunfels Smokehouse, located inside the Marktplatz, seemed to be one of the go to places with multiple windows open to accommodate long lines. A popular menu item is the Wurstkabob, which features five different types of sausage and a roll to finish it off. Another must-have is the funnel cake. These delicacies may take a few extra minutes waiting in line, but they are definitely worth it.
What makes the food even more enjoyable is the atmosphere. Upbeat music from live bands can be heard from all corners of the festival grounds. The chicken dance is a crowd favorite because everyone can participate. Das Grosse Zelt (the big tent) houses one of the bands while the Wursthalle holds another. Both are great for watching and dancing along to the music, but Das Grosse Zelt is the more open venue allowing for more fresh air.
“I like that there is something for everyone to do. No matter how old you are, if you have a family or you come with friends, everyone will enjoy themselves,” Davis remarked.
Besides food and music, Wurstfest offers a carnival equipped with rides and games. The thrills are pretty mild, but this space provides the perfect place for children, and even adults who are children at heart.
According to Wurstfest.com, the festival is a non-profit organization that promotes businesses in and around New Braunfels. It also demonstrates German culture and tradition in a fun way. Wurstfest will be up and running from now until Nov. 10. For directions and more information go to Wurstfest.com.