When Prinz Karl of Solms-Braunsfels in Prussia, a nobleman that supported German immigration to the new world, founded New Braunsfels in 1845 he probably brought along with him his best sausage makers.
What he didn't know is that a Texas tradition would be born on the wings of his love for good sausage, and WURSTFEST would become an annual celebration of all things German in this otherwise peaceful Texas Hill Country community.
It's like Oktoberfest and a grand county fair all rolled into one as countless thousands of fun-seeking Texans and other visitors from around the world flock to the largest German celebration in North America every year.
For ten straight days the community's Landa Park comes alive with live music, amusement and carnival attractions, grand beer halls and - of course - sausage and other great German and Texas foods. And if you haven't brought an appetite for wurst and fun, then you're going to find yourself terribly out of place.
New Braunsfels, known as the "City of a Prince," had a major economic impact upon the immediate area as well as opening West Texas to a civilized economy. The many artisans and craftsmen among the 6,000 settlers generated industry and commerce for the entire central Texas area and came to be known for their expert Old World craftsmanship - the same kind of tender loving care the immigrants would put into their sausage-making.
Even in the beautiful Texas hills life could become challenging in the pioneering West, and settlers and communities depended upon the bounties of nature to supplement their agricultural and manufacturing skills. White-tail deer are native to Texas, and provided the perfect wild game for settlers to hunt and incorporate into their German recipes. To this day, sausage aficionados will be quick to tell you a mix of pork and venison is the perfect combination for high-quality sausage.
While most of New Braunsfels commercial-sold sausage is made strictly of pork and beef, you can expect to find all styles and varieties around town during Wurstfest, in fact, just about any time of year. Bratwurst, bockwurst, bierwurst - wurst of every kind - can be found around every corner. You can get it smoked, grilled, boiled, pan-fried, or raw. It comes hot, cold, as dried jerky, on a stick, in a tortilla, on a plate or on top of a mound of sauerkraut - for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or it can be consumed simply as a Wurstfest snack.
Expect plenty of German polka and dancing during Wurstfest, as well as Texas music played on stages, in tents and halls and just about everywhere else the lively crowd will gather. And take the time to visit the art and craft vendors at the festival and the community businesses around town for an example of many great New Braunsfels products and goods.
If the weather holds, a float down the nearby Comal or Guadalupe rivers would be in order, a favorite past time for visitors who flock to New Braunsfels to enjoy and partake in her bountiful offerings.
WurstFest 2015 is set for Nov. 6 - Nov. 15. Visit the official web site.