Sheboygan Bratwurst Days

Sheboygan Bratwurst Days

First weekend in August
Sheboygan Bratwurst Days is a celebration in Sheboygan, Wis., that is scented with the smoke from 3,000 to 4,000 bratwursts being grilled. Sheboygan, billing itself the "Bratwurst Capital of the World," or alternatively, the "Wurst City of the World," is the home of several large sausage factories that ship bratwurst around the country and of numerous smaller markets that make tons of brat. ( Brat, incidentally, rhymes with cot, not cat .)
The celebration's main event is a parade led by a 13-foot-tall balloon Bavarian figure in lederhosen who is known as the Bratmeister, or "sausage master." In 1991, a highlight of the parade was a float carrying giant twin brats—two 130-pound brats on a hard roll made from 40 pounds of dough.
The point of the festival is to eat brats, and the smell of them cooking on outdoor grills permeates the city. There are a brat-and-pancake breakfast and a brat-eating contest. Other events include band concerts, a magic show, wrestling matches, competitions for children, and a stumpf-fiddle contest. The stumpf fiddle is an instrument combining bells, springs, BB-filled pie plates, wood blocks, and taxi horns on a wooden pole with a rubber ball at the bottom.
Germans settled in Sheboygan in the 1830s and 1840s and immediately began making sausage. In 1953, to celebrate the city's 100th birthday, a Bratwurst Day was held in August. The mayor's proclamation noted that the city "has achieved national fame and recognition for the exclusive manufacture of a special kind of roasting sausage . . ."
The celebration was canceled in 1966 because it had become too rowdy. In 1978, Bratwurst Days came back for the city's 125th anniversary. Today the festival attracts about 50,000 people.
CONTACTS:
Sheboygan Jaycees
P.O. Box 561
Sheboygan, WI 53082
920-803-8980
www.sheboyganjaycees.com