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Food at the Germania Maennerchor in Evansville, IN

EVANSVILLE – Unpack your Lederhosen and limber up for the chicken dance, Evansville, and get ready to feast on kraut balls and pig knuckles.

It’s Volksfest time.

Every year, the first weekend in August sees more than 8,000 people head to the Germania Maennerchor on Fulton Avenue to get their fill of bratwurst, pig knuckles, German potato salad and those beloved kraut balls.

Volksfest began in 1934, but World War II caused it to be shelved from 1941 until 1962. (A member told the Evansville Courier in 1992 that “no one wanted to play German anymore” during those years.)

It’s happened every year since, except for 2020 (thanks, COVID).

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There’s so much to enjoy about the festival, from the polkas to the chicken dance to the Alphorns, but the center of the show is undoubtedly the food.

OKAY. The beer, too.

Harold Griese is 90 years old and still going strong as media chairman for the Germania Maennerchor, and he shared some information on those special recipes.

A plate of bratwurst, kraut, a kraut ball, German potato salad and mashed potatoes with rolls at the 2021 Germania Maennerchor Volksfest.

bratwurst

Germania’s bratwurst recipe came from Evansville butcher Engelhard “Butch” Sunkel.

“Butch was an old butcher who came over from Germany,” Griese said. “I have owned the White Front Grocery on Delaware and Baker. It was a German neighborhood — everybody swept their walks and kept everything clean like they always do. I worked there when I was a kid. He’d get me on Saturday and say in his broken English ‘I want you to work tomorrow, forget church,’ and we’d go in to clean. I scrubbed the floor in the sausage kitchen, it was white, and I kept it immaculate. Farm Boy makes it for us now using that same recipe.”

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