Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend have special meaning around our house, and not just because there is a holiday involved. No, both weekends are BratFest weekends.
BratFest is put on by one of the local supermarkets. One dollar gets you a bratwurst and a soda. Fifty-cents gets you a hot dog and a soda. There are plenty of condiments (the annual usage of condiments for BratFest is measured in gallons) and napkins to go around.
Local celebrities man the cash registers. Local groups and organizations volunteer to cook the food, police the tables, and generally keep the place sanitary. In return, they get all the proceeds of the Fest.
To give you some idea of the volume of food served at BratFest, try these stats on for size (all of which apply to just one of the two weekends per year):- Brats served per minute (average): 77 - Gallons of mustard used: 153 - Gallons of ketchup used: 201 - Pounds of sauerkraut consumed: 5,580 Lbs. That's over two tons! We'd been to three BratFests before this year. Two last year, and one the year before that.
The first one had the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile, tables, chairs, umbrellas, and a local radio station van pumping out classic rock.
The next two had the Weinermobile and whatnot, but they also added the Johnsonville Big Taste Grill, which is a semi tractor-trailer rig that is nothing more than a giant, mobile, gas grill. It can cook 2500 bratwurst per hour and it is quite a sight to see.2500 bph (brats per hour) sounds like quite a few, but even the Big Taste Grill isn't enough to satisfy the BratFest hordes. There are only thirty-two hours of BratFest per Fest (eight hours per day for four days). The current record is over 148,000 brats consumed in four days, so that means that over 4625 bph (on average) were cooked and consumed last Memorial Day weekend when the record was set.
This year, they finally dumped the lame radio station van and installed a small stage. Local bands and singers get to play the stage, which is a nice change from hearing the same old classic rock tunes yet again.
For the first two hours of BratFest today, it rained, so there was only six sunny hours of Brat consumption. And yet, they still managed to sell 49,302 brats today alone. That's just a bit over 6,162 bph!I'm really fascinated by how many brats are eaten at this affair, if you haven't noticed. The premise is so simple: cook brats, serve them cheaply, watch the crowds appear. There is no stuffiness about the affair. There is no hidden agenda. It's just people eating bratwurst in prodigious quantities.