When I was planning to go to the 42nd Ohio Sauerkraut Festival in Waynesville, I had decided to get there early because I had read about the other 350,000+ festival goers attending with me.
Fortunately for me, I had met 2 of those festival goers the night before and they explained some festival tricks, including where to find the $5 parking lot and the $1 bottled water (most bottles went for $2.50). And, although I was disappointed that the wife didn’t like “that sauerkraut stuff,” I was intrigued on how her voice lifted each time she described her shopping experiences there.
The following morning at 9 am, I arrived via Route 42 N and instinctively went into the left lane toward downtown Waynesville.
But as I waited for the light to change, I realized that the cheaper parking the couple told me about was to my right.
No problem, I thought. I’ll just take the left turn and turn around.
But it wasn’t that easy.
Without another intersection for 1.3 miles, I was fortunate enough to find a partial drive to turn around in and start back east toward the cheap parking.
Unfortunately, when I got to the parking lot, another No Left Turn sign blocked me from entering and I had to continue on and turn around a second time.
The only reason I even bring this up is that this snafu occurred when there was a minimum of people.
I can only imagine it during full traffic (so get there early!).
As I walked onto the festival grounds…
…I was initially overwhelmed by the 450+ booths lined up before me.
Being that I’m a foodie, I immediately checked the festival program to find where all the sauerkraut food booths were located and I was surprised to see that it wasn’t indicated on the map where I could find them (like the Circleville Pumpkin Show).
So rather than read through the listed food vendors and then reference their numbers back to the map, I decided to find them on my own…
…passing hippie clothing…
…and cooking demonstration booths…
…before eventually seeing my first sauerkraut food booth.
Instead of being clustered together, sauerkraut booths were dispersed among the multitude of vendor booths. And, being that I was there early, the reasoning may not have been so obvious.
But, later that day…
…the sauerkraut donut booth, for example, would have an hour-long wait.
So imagine a few lines like that in close proximity of each other!
The festival would be crowded enough.
Another reason they may have been spread out was that there weren’t all that many sauerkraut booths considering the size of the festival.
I say this because there were 450+ booths at the festival. 33 of these booths booths were food and/or beverage. And, of these 33 food/beverage booths, only 12 definitely had sauerkraut among menu ingredients.
…at only a short time before the holidays…GENIUS!
I was finally understanding the previous night’s conversation with the couple and the wife’s delight in her purchasing experiences!
…as it was proudly displayed…
…and promoted through various recipes.
But there were definitely levels of sauerkraut intensity among the booths.
The sauerkraut fudge, for example, may sound disgusting in theory…
And at this booth of sauerkraut breads and pies…
…I barely distinguished any kraut in my piece of pie and tossed it after a few bites.
In the end, it was obvious that I wanted a true sauerkraut experience, but there were only a few booths that I felt showed this…
…a delight in sauerkraut perfection and something that satisfied me.
…I escaped behind the booths to the less crowded sidewalks…
…and enjoyed my sauerkraut as the nearby music soothed me.