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Wurstfest: What to expect for the long-anticipated festival | Everything 210

The biggest party in New Braunfels is around the corner. Several San Antonians will be making the drive to the festival grounds.

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — It’s fall, y’all! And in Texas, that means Wurstfest.

The 10-day festival celebrates the history and heritage of German culture in the Lone Star State. And it raises money for community projects. It's also known as the go-to event for food and drinks. Especially sausage on a stick.

After all, Wurstfest translates to sausage festival in English.

We spoke to 2020-2021 Wurstfest President Randy Rust as he and the volunteers, employees prepared the grounds for the public. "Wurstfest is a great organization to be in. It was started back in 1961. It was basically for the local sausage manufacturers to showcase their products, and it has evolved into a major charitable fundraising event for all the nonprofits here in New Braunfels."

Newspapers around the world ran stories of the famous "sausage festival." It grew every year, eventually becoming the iconic Wurstfest. 

By 1978, the grounds had tripled in size. And nonprofits, like Communities in Schools are hoping people can swing by, eat some food and learn about the people they’re helping.

RELATED: Wurstfest 101 | Everything you need to know before the festival

"We do everything from school supplies to mental health counseling, helping kids and their parents with rent, anything and everything that kids need to help them stay in school and stay focused," development director Dawn Koehler said.

And the food and drinks are a big deal too.

"There is so much food that is here at this festival, and even though that it is festival food, we pride ourselves in the quality that is that is presented to you," said Oma to the Wurstfest President Kay Rust.

"Right when they walk in, there's tons of music that's going on. You can get your favorite beverage, whichever that choice is. Then you come up, you find your favorite food that you want," said Rust.

They also have a new menu item, a German-inspired Reuben, that we were one of the first to try:  

Credit: KENS 5

"It is a rye pita that has pastrami on it. Then it has sauerkraut with American cheddar cheese. And then it has our little secret sauce that we put on there," said Rust.

And keep an eye out for the blue feathered "Gross Opa," whose job is to make sure everyone is having a great time. His real name is Wayne Classen.

"I started off going to the very first Wurstfest with my parents and have been to every one since it started," said Classen.

And the excitement for this year’s event is off the charts. 

That’s because four days after the 2019 Wurstfest ended, the grounds were hit by a massive fire, resulting in $10 million worth of damage. 

RELATED: Local club continues to help community as they plan to rebuild after Wurstfest Fire

And then the COVID-19 pandemic caused the 2020 celebration to be canceled

"The history that was there just went all up in smoke. But you know what? It's okay because right now, we have a beautiful facility. We can make new memories. We can make new traditions. It's going to be wonderful," said Rust.

President Rust said that, "Since then, we've taken on the responsibility to rebuild it." He paused with emotion, reflecting on the hard work they've put into the rebuilding process. "It's wonderful. The building is great. All the vendors are back and it's just a beautiful place."

For a full guide to Wurstfest, like tickets and grounds information, click here.

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