NEWBERRY — The smell of bratwurst and other fine cuisine will fill downtown Newberry on Oct. 1 as food vendors and restaurants prepare enough food to satisfy the 15,000 to 20,000 people that are expected to attend.
“The majority of our folks (vendors) are returning from last year, if not, they are people who have been doing this since the dawn of Oktoberfest,” said Mary Alex Kopp, tourism and events coordinator at City Of Newberry Parks, Recreation, and Tourism.
This year’s returning food vendors will be Bill & Fran’s (local), The Grille on Main (local), The Haute Dog Lady, Living Hope Foundation (local), Mayers Concessions (local), Pig Pockets, Saint Mark (local), The A Team (local), The Wurst Wagen and The Palms Grill & Bar (local).
New vendors this year will include Carolina Cake Creations (local), Smacking Lipz, Chopped-n-Topped, Icy Treats and Knoa Ice-Hawaiian Ice.
Downtown restaurants will also be participating in Oktoberfest, but only the Grille on Main has purchased vendor space. Kopp said all the other restaurants have opted to sell from their store fronts.
“What we allow them to do, they can either do the typical day in the restaurant, or have a small set up in front of their business. We allot space if they opt in for them to set up their own kind of outdoor tables for the day,” Kopp said.
For the Oktoberfest food vendors, the rules state that they must serve at least one German inspired dish, and according to Kopp, a lot of them decided to do bratwurst.
“I encourage everybody to go around and, if you can, take a team with you and try and get something from as many different vendors as you can. These people really do put a lot of pride and effort behind the food that they are making,” Kopp said. “In particular, our event offers a special venue for them to make something German or something they would not normally make. It is kind of fun to see how the different people will interpret that.”
There are many delicious favorites when it comes to Oktoberfest. One of the crowd favorites are the mac and cheese egg rolls from Pig Pockets. Kopp said this vendor is based out of Summerville, and she does a couple of traditional German things. Kopp herself said she has had the mac and cheese egg rolls and thinks they are really good.
Some other dishes Kopp has heard positive reviews include, the Living Hope Foundation’s chicken Philly, the hot wings from Mayers Concessions and Bill & Fran’s sweet potato nachos as well as their bacon wrapped bratwurst over sauerkraut.
Other food items of note include Chopped-n-Topped, a new vendor Kopp said they are excited to have. This vendor is based out of the Charleston area, and are a food truck.
“When they called and were talking to me about it, they told me they specialized in bratwurst and fries. They said the thing that make them different is they do any kind of topping you could possibly imagine for those two items,” Kopp said.
Visitors can purchase bratwurst and fries and have them plain, or have toppings. For the bratwurst this includes chili brat, Philly brat, New York brat, Jalapeno brat and bacon cheese brat. For the fries they have bacon cheese, bacon ranch, loaded potato, Tex Mex, buffalo chicken and chicken bacon ranch.
Another new vendor, Icy Treats will have a pretzel bar, and, as it was described to Kopp, will have all kinds different toppings that will include sweet and savory. Everything else they will offer will be a frozen dessert, and their Italian Ice will be served in a mini baseball hat.
Two of the Oktoberfest vendors have German roots. The Haute Dog Lady is herself German, and the The Wurst Wagen’s owner’s husband is German. Kopp said that The Haute Dog Lady has a multitude of different toppings.
“If you want any kind of hot dog at all, she is your go to gal,” she said.
Kopp added that The Wurst Wagen will be the most traditional, when it comes to German food, at Oktoberfest.
One difference in Oktoberfest this year is that the Newberry Chamber of Commerce is not having a liver nips contest, but if you would like liver nips The Palms Grill & Bar will have them. However, you may want to act fast, as they sell out every year.
When it comes to the food at Oktoberfest, many people have dishes they get every year, or something they look forward to trying. Kopp said she hopes the Cabana Cafe will have the Gouda mac and cheese with pork tenderloin.
“I would say that was a life saving meal for me. I was totally running on empty at that point,” Kopp joked. “I hope she has that again this year.
Kopp’s husband, Robbie, is a fan of the bratwurst, and she says he will get bratwurst from every single vendor.
Like Robbie Kopp, Al Harvey, Newberry city manager, says his favorite is the bratwurst, adding that it should be accompanied by copious quantities of Warsteiner or Beck, if available.
“For me these are excellent choices for Oktoberfest because you can enjoy both together over a short period of time and move on to other venues,” he said.
Mayor Foster Senn says he will be getting a sausage dog.
“I always start off with a sausage dog with the sauerkraut, peppers, onions-the works. It is always fantastic and confirms that I am at the Newberry Octoberfest. Later I go by Steven W’s for their chicken wrapped in bacon. Delicious. I finish with a dessert from one of the church bake sales, and those are as a good a dessert as you will find anywhere,” he said.
Matthew DeWitt, assistant city manager, said he is a fan of all the food at Oktoberfest.
“Oktoberfest is one of my favorite events overall because of the sampling of German cuisine that each one of Oktoberfest food vendors carries. You can almost get full just off the smells at Oktoberfest, but we still recommend purchasing from any one of our festival vendors as the food promises to be fantastic,” he said.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.