Every year the sleepy Landa Park near the headwaters of the Comal River in New Braunfels Texas comes alive with the sounds of polka music, cries of “Prost!” and the smell of bratwurst. I’m talking about Wurstfest, the annual festival that celebrates the German culture and heritage of one of Texas’ oldest towns.
Started in 1961 as a festival to honor sausage, over the years Wurstfest has become one of the liveliest and cannot miss events of the Fall season in the Hill Country. By the third year of the festival in 1964, attendance reached 30,000 and visitors consumed over 5,000 pounds of sausage. Yep, you read that right. For a more detailed history of Wurstfest and the German presence in New Braunfels, click here.
Held each year in the first two weeks of November, this festival really allows visitors to immerse themselves in the unique blend of German and Texan, specifically Hill Country, cultures. There’s plenty of beer to be had in the multiple beerhalls and gartens but one of the aspects of the festival that has become the most famous is the food.
Oh, my goodness, the food.
Near the front entrance lies the food hall and I swear you can smell the intoxicating smells blocks away. The sausage options alone are enough to keep you occupied for hours. The traditional bratwurst is offered in addition to smoked jalapeno cheese and a spicy andouille. I’ve sampled them all and let me tell you that you cannot go wrong. In addition to the traditional fare, local vendors set up shop in the food tent and you can get fluffy, decadent pastries right next to a street taco stand. Wurstfest lasts for 10 days so you have plenty of opportunities to get a bite of it all!
Once you’ve stuffed yourself in the food tent, head on over to Wursthalle to getting moving to the polka music. If you’ve never heard polka, then prepare yourself for a life changing experience. All of the musical acts that grace the Wursthalle stage are lively and will keep you out of your seat for hours. Don’t know how to polka? No problem! There are plenty of omas and opas that will teach you all of the right steps.
This year’s festival starts on November 2nd so mark your calendar, grab your lederhosen, and get ready for one heck of a good time. Prost!
Dates: November 2nd – 11th