Johnee Jasso, The Paisano
Since 1961, Wurstfest has been honoring German culture in New Braunfels. Wursfest is a non-profit corporation that promotes local commerce and preserves community heritage. Its annual festival brings visitors from around the country to raise money for community projects.
Originally named “Sausage Festival,” this 10-day affair provides the best local foods and drinks, including pork schnitzel, sauerkraut, strudel and the “wurst taco.” Dr. Ed A. Grist established the annual festival in a small town with no idea how successful it would become. In 54 years, Wurstfest has drawn crowds of hundreds of thousands, welcomed many great performers, including Die Froehliche Dorfmusik and Grammy Award Winner Jimmy Sturr and his Orchestra, and has even gained attention from ABC’s Good Morning America.
This year, Wurstfest kicked off on Friday, Nov. 6 and ended Sunday, Nov. 15. The German festival hosted 41 booths for local venders, including a Marketplatz and a Stelzenplatz for food vendors and a Biergarten for drinks—with over 30 craft beers. This year, bands such as Jodie Mikula Orchestra and The Europa Band attended. If that isn’t enough, a carnival was split on both ends of the park.
“I can’t even begin to express how impressed I am with this place,” Wursfest tourist Christian Gonzales explains. “I love the music, the food and the drinks. I feel like I’m back at Oktoberfest in Munich.”
The Marketplatz contained over 30 booths with the most delicious food you’ve ever tasted. From sausage-on-a-stick to apple strudel, local venders have come to bring the best food in town. Connected to the Marketplatz is the Biergarten – home to 55 types of brew, from Domestic Bud Light to Oktoberfestbier straight from Germany. In between the two is the Wursthalle, a spot for attendees to sing and dance with one another as they enjoy live music. The Seven Dutchmen Orchestra, for example, is a brass band that specializes in polka music, waltzes and, yes, the chicken dance.
In the center of the festival is Das Grosse Zelt, which is hard to miss. Das Grosse Zelt, or the big tent, is an open tent with a stage for live entertainment overseeing over at least 30 long Oktoberfest benches for folks to gather, drink, and socialize. It is always packed, and the music can be heard from the entrance of the festival. And for parents with kids, the Kinderhalle includes a Circle Arts theatre and a carnival with a grand Ferris wheel that allows you to look over the entire festival.
Even when the beer is flowing, Wurstfest is an attraction for all ages and is one of Texas’ best annual festivals.