NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — More than 20 nonprofits are moving forward after the fire at Wurstfest.
Flames destroyed the Marktplatz on the New Braunfels festival grounds in November, where the groups kept their concession stands. The debris has since been cleared, and now plans for new food booths are being finalized.
The organizations are also figuring out how to replace kitchen equipment.
“It was total destruction. I'm sure that you saw pictures of the smoke and the fires,” Dan Krueger said.
He is a member of the Wurstfest Association and served as the Grosse Opa in 2019 and Wurstfest president in 2019. He’s also a member of the New Braunfels Noon Lions Club.
“Fortunately, Wurstfest and the board has moved quickly. After all our insurance and all the investigators and everybody else has come in, we've now been able to clear that (debris) out," Krueger said. "We've got a construction trailer on site. We looked at designs last night. I get chill bumps just thinking about it. It's exciting; we're going to be ready Nov. 6, 2020.”
Many are focusing on the future and imagining what the grounds will look like at the next salute to sausage.
Nine months from now, the festival grounds off Landa Park Drive in New Braunfels will welcome tens of thousands of people.
Dozens of Hill Country nonprofits will serve up festival food to raise money for their charities.
One of the booths is run by the New Braunfels Noon Lions Club.
“We’ve had a booth for over 40 years at Wurstfest,” said Stephen Brockman, the second vice president for the New Braunfels Noon Lions Club. “It's our only fundraiser for the year, and we sell sausage on a stick and we have the button that has made us famous. That morning (of the fire), we lost everything in it. Right now we're in the rebuild and working closely with Wurstfest to build out our new booth.”
The Lions Club visits dozens of Comal County schools every year to screen children for vision and hearing problems. They also support Texas Lions Camp in Kerrville where children with physical disabilities can attend for free.
“We all come together, we all have the heart for service,” Brockman said. “We know we're making a big, big impact not just here locally, but around the world. That's what serving with Lions means to me.”
To continue their mission, sausage sales have to happen at Wurstfest. And Lions need kitchen equipment for their booth.
“We’ll have the need for some (commercial ovens), sinks, some freezers and refrigerators,” Brockman said. “Luckily, we do have a large network, but any kind of help will always be appreciated.”
Other groups impacted by the fire have similar needs.
“They're starting it at Ground Zero, if you will—many of them didn't have insurance,” Krueger said. “If you think about it, it's really kind of tough to have insurance for a 10-day festival. Wurstfest is going to rebuild the structure, and everything else supporting it. All internal, their kitchen equipment, the sinks, everything that they're going to do to have food ready for our patrons, (the organizations have) to be able to fund.”
The new Marktplatz will offer a place to make new Wurstfest memories and support the charitable work being done by so many in the community.
To support a group impacted by the fire, visit Wurstfest.com.