The streets of Waynesville lined up with white tented booths, shoulder-to-shoulder visitors from all over America, pumpkins, crafts, and an abundance of Sauerkraut foods during the 48th Annual Sauerkraut Festival this past weekend.
Each year, the Village of Waynesville opened up to welcome over 300,000 visitors for one weekend. All parking lots offered parking, streets were closed and school shuttle buses pushed their way up and down the hill to get visitors safely to their destination. This year, it’s estimated that the festival will serve over seven tons of Snowfloss sauerkraut – the only kraut used during this year’s festival and all others that preceded.
48 years ago, the town wanted to have a sidewalk sale. But, the current Mayor of the town decided to turn the even into a festival. But, what kind of festival? Apple? Pumpkin? Mums? No, he came up with the idea of Sauerkraut. It was something totally different than any other community. At first, the festival only brought in about 1,000 people and served about 528 pounds of sauerkraut. That was still pretty good for the times. Still, every year, more and more visitors come to enjoy the delicious and unique creations of sauerkraut. This festival offers sauerkraut specialties such as pizza, donuts, sundaes, hot dogs, cabbage rolls, fudge and more. But, if sauerkraut isn’t your forte, there are other favorites such as mac & cheese, funnel cakes, candied apples, apple fritters and more food than you can imagine.
The one thing special about the Sauerkraut Festival is that the vendors that participate have to prove that their items are truly handmade. Together with handmade items and delicious sauerkraut foods, this festival is one of the Village’s largest fundraising event that helps more than the vendors and shops throughout Main Street, the proceeds help the Waynesville school system, the Girl Scouts, and many other local non-profit organizations. The Sauerkraut Festival also provides approximately $4,000 in scholarship money to local high school students. The students are required to write an essay to the Sauerkraut committee and participate in an interview before finding out the winners under the grandstand during the festival.
This year, fans enjoyed some of the traditionally well-known booths and some new ones.
What is your favorite thing about this festival?
Until next year. 🙂