WAYNESVILLE — The streets of Waynesville will soon be lined with white tented booths, shoulder-to-shoulder visitors from all over America, pumpkins, crafts, and an abundance of Sauerkraut foods. The village will host the the 48th Annual Sauerkraut Festival on Oct. 14-15.
Each year, Waynesville opens up to welcome more than 300,000 visitors for one weekend. All parking lots offer parking, streets are closed and school shuttle buses push their way up and down the hill to get visitors safely to their destination. This year, it’s estimated that the festival will go through more than seven tons of Snowfloss sauerkraut — the only kraut used during this year’s festival and all others that preceded.
It was 48 years ago that the town wanted to have a sidewalk sale. But, the mayor of the town decided to turn the event into a festival. The question was what kind of festival? That’s when the idea of Sauerkraut came about. 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. Every year, more and more visitors would come to enjoy the unique creations of sauerkraut. This festival offers sauerkraut specialties such as pizza, donuts, sundaes, hot dogs, cabbage rolls, fudge and more. If sauerkraut isn’t a visitor’s forte, there are other favorites such as funnel cakes, candied apples, apple fritters and more.
The one thing that is special about the Sauerkraut Festival is that the vendors that participate have to provide that their items are truly handmade. Together with this festival value and the delicious sauerkraut foods, the 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, enjoy some of the traditionally well-known booths and some new ones. Walk and shop from one end of the village to the other for a day of fun searching for that one-of-a-kind item. The festival will take place downtown Waynesville 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15.
Danielle Coots is a freelance writer for Greene County News.