Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival 2008


One of the chapters of my dissertation focuses on the role of ethnic foods and heritage in constructing a sense or connection to place. I have conducted a significant amount of field research at this festival but needed to attend and document the opening ceremony. So, this past Thursday, I dragooned my junior research assistant, Emily, and we drove to Bucyrus to be at the kick-off and to interview some of the participants.

If you want a more detailed description/ analysis, you'll just need to buy the book when it becomes available.

For 36 of the Bratwurst Festival's 41 years, Boyd Long has run a ceremonial "First Brat" from the Colonel Crawford Lions Club booth located on Sandusky Avenue two blocks South to the main stage on Warren Street.

As he rounds the corner from Sandusky to Warren, the two-man band strikes up a rousing rendition of "Happy Wanderer."

Long delivers the "first Brat to the standing, and anxiously awaiting, Bratwurst Queen and she takes the first bite, passes it to her first attendant, the first passes it to the second and then to the festival director, Greg Northrup. In unison, the royalty declare the 2008 festival officially open.

Then they all dance to the "Beer Barrel Polka."

Polka music fills the streets and the HEAVENLY aroma of brats wafts on the gentle breeze. You'll notice that the streets are busy for 12:00 PM on a Thursday...wait til after the parade. This festival typically draws 150,000 people to this town of around 14,000 for delightful treats such as Pita-Wurst from the Colonel Crawford Lion's Club:

Bratwurst Casserole lovingly prepared from a fifth-generation family recipe by the First United Methodist Church in Bucyrus:

Hand-cut-and-battered fried Swiss cheese:

Jumbo Bavarian Cream Puffs from Schmidt's in The German Village, Columbus, Ohio:

and the BEST bratwurst in the nation.

Best, NC

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