Do you like sausage? Or beer? Well, then Wurstfest is an event you won’t want to miss! This German heritage festival in New Braunfels is a must-see in central Texas. Visit their website to prepare for next years event.
If you prefer to read than watch, the transcript can be found below the video.
Greetings, I’m Craig Smyser. I’m about an hour south of downtown Austin in the town of New Braunfels for Wurstfest in this road trip episode of Discover Austin.
Wurstfest is an annual celebration that is rich in German culture and full of Texas fun! You can enjoy good food, music, dancing, carnival rides and games, and the finest in Alpine and Bavarian style entertainment. Did I mention they also have beer? Yes, lots of German and Texan beer.
Wurstfest started in 1961 when the New Braunfel’s city meat inspector created a festival to honor sausage. Originally entitled Sausage Festival it was a one-day event. As it grew over the years, the name changed to Wurst Week, and now is Wurstfest. The festival takes place on the banks of the Comal River. It’s very important to know that Wurstfest is a cash-only event – from admission to food to drinks, your debit card will do you no good. They do have plenty of ATMs on site if you forget.
Sausage is still a main focal point of the event. The primary food court is Marktplatz and there are lots of options available here. Carlton’s and New Braunfels Smokehouse are two vendors that have been part of Wurstfest since the very beginning. Potato pancakes are one of the most popular foods. You can also find sausage on a stick and pork chops on a stick. Well, let’s face it, you can find lots of different meats on a stick at Wurstfest. Much of the food served at Wurstfest is locally sourced. There are also some food trucks available. Ready for dessert? Naegelin’s Bakery is the oldest bakery in Texas. They’re best known for their strudel.
Music and dancing are key to Wurstfest. There are a total of five music venues, both indoors and out, that play host to a variety of bands throughout the 10-day run. You’re always within earshot of great Alpine dances like the polka and, of course, the Chicken Dance. Yes, in case you didn’t know the Chicken Dance is an oom-pah song of Swiss origin. Personally, I’m not a fan of the Chicken Dance and specifically instructed the DJ at our wedding not to play it. But, for only $20, my brother was able to bribe the DJ and so I ended up having to do the Chicken Dance at my own wedding. Yodeling is also a popular attraction at Wurstfest.
The Wurstfest Association itself is a non-profit organization designed to promote local commerce and preserve the community’s heritage. It provides a mechanism for local civic organizations to raise money and, in fact, over 80% of the vendors at Wurstfest are non-profit. This means that a lot of the money spent at Wurstfest gets turned right back into the community by groups like the Lion’s Club and Rotary Club as well as the local little league organization, high school boster clubs, and a whole host of others.
New Braunfels hosts a variety of other activities during Wurstfest including the Wurst 5-Mile Run and the Tour de Gruene bike race, among others.
There’s so much to do for the whole family at this celebration of German heritage. I invite you to don your lederhosen or dirndl and come on down to Wurstfest, the best ten days in sausage history. I’m Craig Smyser, thanks for joining me for this road trip episode of Discover Austin. Aufeidersehen!