Traditions continue at this year’s Wurstfest

LeeAnn Cardwell

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From bratwurst and schnitzel to bread pudding and lebkuchen, there is plenty of German fare to go around and surely a pitcher of hoppy amber beer waiting to be found at this year’s annual Wurstfest.

The 10-day salute to sausage has finally arrived as Wurstfest celebrates its 50th year at Landa Park in New Braunfels. The annual festival is Nov. 3-12.

The Bavarian bash has become a tradition for many Central Texas families.

Kim Widtfeldt attended the festival with her husband, daughter, son-in-law and grandson. All were dressed from head-to-toe in matching blue and white lederhosen and dirndls as they celebrated their fifth year participating in the festivities.

“We come (to) the opening day every year,” Widtfeldt said. “Plus it is always around our anniversary, so this is how we celebrate.”

Wurstfest offers families a taste of German cuisine and beer while they enjoy face painting and shopping through different art installations and German stores.

Two Texas State alumnae, Lois Spomer and Macy Bucek, attended Wurstfest for the seventh year together. The friends first attended the festival while they were students at Texas State and are continuing the tradition now that they live in New Braunfels.

“It’s the best time of the year,” Bucek said. “Every year we try to come every single day of the whole festival.”

Wurstfest fashion is about as abundant as the taps of beer, making it a beloved tradition of frequent attendees. Spomer and Bucek were not the only partygoers dressed in dirndls, hair braided into pigtails and ears of corn painted on their cheeks.

“I don’t dress up for Halloween, but I dress up for Wurstfest,” Spomer said.

One Wurstfest attendee, Andy Burge, wore lederhosen like many others, but his pristinely twisted mustache and moving, stuffed chicken, Brunhilda, are what caught the attention of many passersby. Burge said he developed an appreciation for German culture after living in Germany for over five years while serving in the military.

Burge, known to visiting children as Mr. Whiskers, first attended the bash in 1970 and acquired Brunhilda a few years later. She has accompanied him to the festival ever since, bringing wonder and laughs to her onlookers.

“The people are my favorite thing about the festival,” Burge said. “They are fun to watch because everyone is having such a good time.”

Spinning carnival rides mesmerize the strong-stomached while other attendees sing and dance to the performances of German bands, orchestras and yodelers. Elderly couples can be found attempting the polka or waltz as others join conga lines or clap to the beat of the music.

Wurstfest is situated on the banks of the Comal River in New Braunfels, creating an enchanting atmosphere for people to take a break from the music and dancing. Guests can be found dangling their feet over the edge of the river or laying on the hillside stargazing.

Jenny Hall and her date sat near the river exchanging laughs as they shared a sausage on a stick and a turkey leg. They had driven down to Wurstfest from Austin for a fun and unique night out.

“I have always wanted to go to Oktoberfest in Germany and I think Wurstfest is the closest way to experience that,” Hall said.

Celebrating the rich roots of German culture in New Braunfels through craft beer, food and live music is a beloved tradition for all.

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