Wurstfest—a nonprofit whose mission is to preserve local community heritage in New Braunfels, promote the local economy and encourage tourism—is back for its 62nd year.

Last year, the festival had 240,000 attendees over its 10-day span, and the same is expected for this year, said Dan Tharp, the chair of the Wurstfest Association Marketing Committee.

“It’s [a] Texas tradition for so many families that never miss a year,” Tharp said.

What you need to know

This year, Wurstfest—one of the largest Oktoberfest-style festivals in the United States—will take place Nov. 3-12. Tharp said there has not been a year that the festival has not improved, noting the recent rebuild of the Marketplatz—the primary building where about 20 local nonprofits set up booths to sell food and merchandise—was a significant improvement to the Wurstfest grounds.

“This allows them to focus more of their energy on the important work they do in our community the rest of the year,” Tharp said.

The festival will host 42 entertainment acts across five stages over the 10-day celebration, totaling 367 hours of live music. There will be polka bands, choirs, folk dance groups, and community and brass bands as well as headliners such as Alex Meixner, Jimmy Sturr, Die Schlauberger and Die Bayrische Hiatamadln.

Tharp described the opening ceremony, which will be held in the Wursthalle on Nov. 3, as an “incredible experience” with a “special energy.”

“The Wursthalle is bursting with pride and excitement as the community comes together to kick off the festival,” he said. “Everyone should make it a point to experience it and participate in the longstanding traditions of the ‘biting of the sausage’ and the ‘tapping of the keg.’ If you want to experience true Gemütlichkeit, this is the moment to do it.”

First-time festivalgoers are also encouraged to attend on a Saturday or Sunday at 11 a.m., right when the gates open, to have easy access to entertainment and food and also to explore the grounds.

“Make sure you keep an eye out for [the] Grosse Opa and ask him for a commemorative button and get a picture with him,” Tharp said.

The Grosse Opa is responsible for ensuring all guests have fun at Wurstfest and is chosen by the association’s president each year. He can be recognized by an unusually large feather in his hat, Tharp said.

Popular menu items

There are 30 vendors that serve food and drinks during the festival. For first-time Wurstfest goers, Tharp recommends trying the wurst, such as Wurstkabob or the Wurst-n-Taschen, which is bratwurst on pita bread served with kraut.

The festival also serves sausage cheese balls, wurst nachos, and mac and cheese sausage. Other fan favorites include schnitzel, Reuben sandwiches and turkey legs.

Attendees can find the full entertainment schedule at www.wurstfest.com/schedule.