Day Trippin

A collection of day trips: Wurstfest

Wurstfest returns November 2nd-11th of 2018. Photo by Courtney Sellers

This year we celebrated the 56th anniversary of Wurstfest — the huge outdoor sausage and beer festival in New Braunfels, TX. I haven’t been to Wurstfest since I was in college at Texas State, and since we were going to a wedding in the hill country anyway we decided to head up a day early so we could attend.

First things first, I think Wurstfest could be a day trip if you aren’t a huge drinker. But I never condone drinking and driving, so turn this into an overnight stay if you plan to enjoy the pitchers of beer. The hotel hustle in New Braunfels during the two-week period of Wurstfest is unparalleled anywhere on earth. I recommend staying at the Microtel on I35 – prices were cheaper than anywhere else in town, all of their rooms are non-smoking, and they have the greatest policy on earth – after the checkout time of noon, you can stay in the room for $10/hr. This was clutch the next morning after drinking beer all night. Noon would have been an impossible task – we barely made it to the 4:30 pm wedding.

Uber has been a major development in the time that has passed between my last trip to Wurstfest a decade ago and now. Parking is a struggle and many churches and other businesses offer up parking in their lots for a price. I spoke to a member of the Knights of Columbus for a local church, and he told me they don’t even have to do fundraisers anymore because the money they make from parking during the two weeks of the festival pays for everything they would do fundraising for. That’s incredible. Be prepared for a pretty long walk either way — the traffic leading up to the festival entrance is so slow you’re likely to jump out of your Uber, and the waiting area for cars is a good walk away when you leave.

Once you actually get there, you can purchase entrance and drink tickets either online or at the door. At the door and once inside the festival everything is cash only. The only exception to the cash only rule is the souvenir stands where they do take credit cards. I found this hilarious — it’s too hard to take credit cards until they really want your money, then it’s simple.

So you’re inside Wurstfest. Now what? We attended the second weekend of the festival and it was packed to the gills. Walking is nearly impossible once you get inside. The festival has outgrown the grounds so much that every single inch of space is taken, and the fair grounds are just a writhing mass of people all trying to get to different places. There are tents set up around the festival with different musicians and performers, and the big tent near the main entrance of the festival for the main attractions. This tent is massive, and it was by God’s own grace that we actually were able to find our friends. Cell phone service is almost non-existent here due to the huge crowds. The big tent in the middle is where you’ll find all the beer and meats your heart desires. My advice is to find a stand that sells the beer you want, get your sausages, and post up shop at an entertainment tent nearby and just sit there. If you can’t find a place to sit, get ok with standing the whole time, it’s not that bad!

A pitcher of German beer cost $29 each. The food was more reasonably priced and some places were even giving away little pins and stuff when you bought food. For $30 we were able to get fried bacon, German chocolate cake, three different types of bratwurst, more sausage, and sausage on a stick with a tortilla. Six pitchers of beer later, it was time to go home. Despite claims to the contrary, I am a generally happy person. It takes a lot to get me upset, especially in crowds where I know things will never go very well. But not everyone is that way. We saw people throwing up everywhere, getting in fights over space on picnic benches, kids running to and fro — their parents oblivious to their whereabouts, and people like us just trying to relax, drink beer, listen to polka, and eat. It’s not all bad crowds though, standing in line for beer, I met a man whose dad has been a “red vest” since the 1970’s, and he himself just earned his red vest this year. The guys in the red and green vests help put the festival together and the green vest guys are like pledges. Hearing about the early days of the festival taking place in a church basement on a single day to the monstrosity we attended was interesting, and really made the beer line move faster. Wurstfest is over until next year but make sure you check it out in 2018!

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All bets are off in Vegas. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Las Vegas this Sunday for the South Point 400. This track is one of the many mile and a half bullrings that we see on the NASCAR schedule. It is known for how hard it is to get on to pit road so look for the possibility of speeding penalties. Another thing to look out for is the heat. As we all know it gets hot in Las Vegas in September, this will make the track much more slippery and there is a good chance that there will be tire problems. It should be a good race though, and I am looking forward to seeing who moves on as the round of 12 begins.

Last week, Kevin Harvick went on to his ninth victory of 2020 as he continues to tear through competition. In the closing laps he and Kyle Busch battled it out in one of the best races we have seen all year. The race was different from what we usually see at Bristol as there weren't very many wrecks and there were a lot of cars that went a lap down as there were only six cars on the lead lap. A few people were critical of the racing last week which personally I didn't understand. This race had everything you would want it to, two of the best drivers in the sport going for the win.

There was news a plenty this week in the NASCAR world. It all started on Tuesday when it was announced that Ross Chastain would take over the #42 Camaro for Chip Ganassi in 2021. This doesn't come as too much of a surprise as he had driven for them in the Xfinity Series. He was lauded as the early candidate when Larson was suspended and many were surprised when he wasn't named the replacement for this year. But in the end, it all came full circle and the driver we all thought would get the ride ended up with it. Personally, I like this move. Ross has more than proved he is capable of running up front and winning in the Xfinity Series and now he is going to get the opportunity of a lifetime in decent equipment.

The other big headline this week was the announcement that Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan would be purchasing the Germain Racing charter and starting their own team in 2021 with Bubba Wallace as the driver. This is a HUGE deal for NASCAR as arguably one of the most recognizable brands in the world is coming on board. These rumors had been persistent over the last few weeks and many questioned the validity of the reports until it was confirmed on Tuesday that this was happening. More than likely what we will see with this new team is that they will receive cars from the former Levaine Family Racing team and technical support from Joe Gibbs Racing. This will also be the first time that a driver will own a team while driving for another team since Dale Earnhardt did it when he owned DEI and drove for Richard Childress. This will certainly be a huge boost for Bubba as he will now get the funding he deserves. Look out for this team going into the future.

As the week went on the rumors got even crazier as it was reported by Adam Stern that NASCAR and Bristol Motor Speedway were in talks to run a dirt race! This was a huge surprise to me as there was hardly anything to suggest this was even an idea. This truly came out of nowhere. This isn't really all that new to the track as it hosted a World of Outlaws race back in 2000 but never has there been a full-on stock car race on the dirt there. It will be interesting to see if this comes to fruition in the next few weeks.

The driver that I have winning this week at Vegas is Brad Keselowski. Over the last few times they have been coming to this track, he has been nearly untouchable. He has four top fives, six top tens and a victory back in 2018. His lowest finish here has been seventh! He has just been phenomenal here and I look for that to continue. This would be big for Brad if he can win considering that would put him through to the next round, and he won't have to worry so much about the unknown next week at Talladega. I look for Brad to take his Mustang to victory lane come Sunday.

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