With three days to go, this year’s Wurstfest has already turned out to be everything organizers had hoped it would be.
“It’s actually been an incredible festival,” said Eric Couch, 2018 Wurstfest Association president. “The free nights were a bigger success than we ever thought it would be. Our vendors were super happy with the turnout—all of their revenues were up, which means more money going back into our scholarships and other community things.
“Having that many people on the grounds to enjoy the entertainment – all of it is huge. I can’t even begin to say how successful it’s been and comments from the public saying they feel this year’s event is about them. And that’s what we’re about – the community.”
It’s too early to gauge attendance numbers, which totaled nearly 156,000 in 2017.
“The numbers of people have been up on some days and down on others, which is by design,” said Suzanne Herbelin, Wurstfest Association executive director.
Herbelin said several changes this year helped even out nightly attendance throughout the week – increasing full-day admission from $10 to $15; offering free admission Monday through Wednesday and additional space for accommodate overflow crowds.
“We wanted to slow some of the nights where we had crowding issues,” she said. “We shifted that attendance by making the slower nights free and we could handle more people safely and comfortably.”
Herbelin said it worked, as more people chose to attend on the free nights. And adding more space near the center of the festival grounds helped accommodate the larger weekend crowds.
“We’re expecting good crowds this weekend,” she said. “Typically, the second weekend is the larger of the two. But we’re prepared to handle larger numbers because of the additional space.
“We’re looking forward to a wonderful time, with a lot of money for the nonprofits operating food booths. A lot of people have already come here for the first time, and we’re hoping they return to enjoy what New Braunfels has to offer.”
Food and vendor booths in the Marketplatz will be active, with entertainment acts performing at several venues.
Traditional bands Die Schlauberger, Squeezebox and The Royal Klobasneks are among featured acts performing in Wursthalle, Grosse Zelt (Big Tent), Kleine Zelt (Little Tent), Steltzenhaus and Steltzenplatz during the final weekend.
Jimmy Sturr and his Orchestra, another Wurstfest favorite, will play at 8 p.m. Friday, 8:30 p.m. and Saturday and at 11:30 a.m. Sunday in Wursthalle.
There is also a Kids Night Out scheduled from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday in Kinderhalle.
The weather forecast calls for a chance of early Friday, with rain chances tapering off by Friday night. The wrap-up weekend calls for cloudy to partly cloudy skies, with high temperatures in the mid to upper 50s and lows in the 40s.
“We’ll have a little different weather than we had during the first half, but the cooler temperatures will provide a different experience for our patrons,” Couch said. “They can come in bundled up and enjoy two different festivals based on the weather.
Visitors will be admitted free after 3 p.m. on Sunday, the final day of the 58th annual Wurstfest, which concludes its 10-day celebration at 9:30 p.m.
Couch urged patrons attend a special Veteran’s Day event Sunday evening.
“We’re doing the ceremony at 5:30 p.m. in the Wursthalle,” he said. “It’s such a moving program, and we try to honor these veterans in the way they deserve and do it Wurstfest-style. “We hope the community will be able to come out and see it.”