Tuesday, May 27, 2008

An Ode To Thy Bratwurst

Here in Wisconsin we take our German Sausages very seriously. So serious in fact, that we honor our brats twice a year in a festival known throughout the world as (queue the music) BRAT FEST!

If you look up the word "bratwurst" in Wikipedia you find Madison Wisconsin!

The city of Madison, Wisconsin, holds an annual festival billed as the "World's Largest Brat Fest". The four-day charity event sees tens of thousands of brats sold by "celebrity" cashiers, usually local television, radio, and government personalities. Brat Fest's self-proclaimed world record is 189,432 brats consumed during the 2004 event.

For all of those that don't live in Madison Wisconsin and aren't familiar with the insanity and gluttony that is Brat Fest, allow me to explain.

It first started many years ago as a very simple and diminutive affair. It was just a small stand with maybe one grill outside a local grocery store that sold brats and hot dogs for ridiculously cheap prices. It was something like $.50 for a hot dog and a pop and $1 for a brat and a pop.

My father loves my mother, Ben, myself and Brat Fest. In that order. It would be sometime in mid May and the man would all the sudden get this goofy grin on his face and say "You know what's comin' up don't you? BRAT FEST!"

Ben happened to be born over Memorial Day weekend. I brought him home from the hospital with my parents close by. Until my dad realized what weekend it was. This proud grandpa knew the one thing missing from this homecoming was brats. "Who wants a brat?!?" he said eagerly.

Ah yes. Nothing says I want a brat like just having gone through 12 hours of labor, 2 1/2 hours of pushing that resulted in an emergency c-section, spending the past 4 days in the hospital to now be staring at this baby who people tell me is mine but I'm really just waiting for his real parents to come and get him. But off my dad went. Because HELLO!?!? Brat Fest doesn't happen just everyday ya know.

Throughout the years Brat Fest expanded. Very slowly at first but steadily. Soon the little stand became a bigger stand. And then eventually a tent in the parking lot of this grocery store. Until a couple years ago when Brat Fest just couldn't handle it's awesomeness anymore and finally exploded into this!

Yes folks. It is a full on FAIR who's sole dedication is to The Brat! There are bands. There are rides. And there are beers tents (duh! It's Wisconsin! Hell someone sneezes in the summer and that's reason enough for a beer tent)

The gourmet menu is as follows:
Johnsonville Brat $1.50
Oscar Mayer Hot Dog $1.50
Double Johnny $3.00 "New This Year"(A Double Johnny is two juicy Johnsonville brats on one bun)
Boca Brat (vegetarian) $1.50

I hope I didn't send someone into cardiac arrest from just reading about the "Double Johnny".

We, of course, attended Brat Fest this year. It's actually a state requirement. Really. When filling out your taxes at the end of the year, you have to show a ketchup stain from your Brat Fest experience otherwise you get a penalty from the state.

Thank god I have until Labor Day to get rid of my brat baby. And lose the 20 pounds I put on just this weekend.

God Bless Wisconsin.


Holly said...

That sounds like a fabulous time!

Big Momma Pimpalishisness said...

Yum, yum, yummy!

Shannon said...


Marketing Mama said...

That is so awesome. I would totally go to Brat Fest. You should list how much a beer is compared to those brat prices. Probably 2x as much?!?!

Becky said...

You guessed it Marketing Mama! The beer was $5 a cup! That's almost three brats! Not worth it!

Come up to Madison on Labor Day and I'll take you to Brat Fest! A Brats on me!