New Braunfels last weekend. Officially, it's a sausage festival. In action, it's a celebration of all things German, most particularly beer and polka, with sausage on the side.
Denny goes to Wurstfest mostly for his annual five-kinds-of-sausage-on-a-stick splurge, washed down with real German beer. Fresh draft, not bottled.
And he goes because I ask him to go with me.
I like Wurstfest because everyone lets loose. People in New Braunfels have a strong German heritage which dictates taking responsibility seriously. Lawns are neat, church is well-attended and bills are paid. Societal norms reign.
But at Wurstfest, the natives wear costumes and drink and dance, a year's-worth of passion compressed to two weeks. Norms are skewed. And it's an every age event. The best boot-scooters are Grandma and Grandpa who polka like they were born doing it. Which they might have been, if they come from here.
The organizers bring top-tier polka acts to town. Das Grosse Zelt (The Big Tent) holds a couple thousand people packed on picnic benches and standing around the perimeter. Every single one gets into the polka groove.
My favorite act the last couple of years has been Alex Meixner, a devil on the accordion. Some of my friends will find the idea of hot accordion music odd but Meixner's energy radiates. He twirls, he dances, he swings the accordian and his fingers fly. When he comes on, the bench rows begin to sway, shoulder to shoulder, back and forth, the man with the flashing bat-hat, the woman with the viking horns, everyone together.
Tonight and tomorrow are the last nights of Wurstfest 2009 but you can click the video below and pretend. So get a beer from the fridge and settle in for the ride.