Sauerkraut: why this Warren County festival is such a huge draw

Don’t knock it ’til you try it: sauerkraut doughnut balls. CONTRIBUTED
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Don’t knock it ’til you try it: sauerkraut doughnut balls. CONTRIBUTED


WANT TO GO?

WHAT: Ohio Sauerkraut Festival

WHERE: 10B N. Main St., Waynesville

WHEN: Oct. 8 (9 a.m. to 8 p.m.), Oct. 9 (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.)

MORE INFO: www.sauerkrautfestival.com

The end of Oktoberfest doesn’t mean the end of delicious dishes loaded with sauerkraut in our area. In fact, the Ohio Sauerkraut Festival has more than just a few ways to prepare the fermented cabbage.

The festival returns to Waynesville Oct. 8-9.

Begun in 1970 as a simple sidewalk sale by Waynesville merchants, things changed shortly after it was suggested the event feature a sauerkraut dinner. Festival officials estimated about 1,500 people showed up back then. Now about 350,000 (that’s not a typo) people come from as far away as Hawaii to dine on seven tons of sauerkraut.

YOU CAN DO THAT WITH CABBAGE?

It’s not just sauerkraut, but what you can do with it. Pizza, doughnuts, fudge, cookies and pies — all made with sauerkraut — will be devoured at this year’s festival. Of course, the traditional cabbage rolls are a big attraction. But there’s also Polish cabbage soup, egg rolls, German sundaes (potatoes, sauerkraut, cheese, sour cream, bacon bits topped with an olive) and sauerkraut bread to make your way through. This festival even has its own cookbook.

Organizers have put together a food challenge to see who can eat food from all the booths over the course of the weekend.

There will be food items without sauerkraut, but that would be boring. Don’t be boring.

MORE THAN JUST FOOD

Arts and crafts by more than 450 artisans from all over the country will be for sale. Whether it’s candles, porcelain, metal works or photography (and more), there’s plenty to walk around and admire while you work off your meal.

There’s also music provided by various groups, cloggers and a Sunday church service.

YES, THIS IS FOR A GOOD CAUSE (OTHER THAN HUNGER)

The Ohio Sauerkraut Festival provides college scholarships to deserving high school seniors from the Wayne Local School District. So you can stuff your face and enjoy the works of others knowing you’re making a positive difference in a young person’s life — if that’s what it takes to get you out of the house and into Waynesville.