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Quest For 'Kraut Brings A Father-Daughter Team To Waynesville

A hot dog always benefits from a pile of sauerkraut (pic: Brian Bull)
A hot dog always benefits from a pile of sauerkraut (pic: Brian Bull)

“I love sauerkraut…ooh oooh ooh……sauerkraut….I eat it all the time… I don’t want to stop…say..ay….I love sauerkraaauutt---- " sings Hailey as we near Waynesville.

Since the pre-dawn hours, Hailey and I have been driving on this pilgrimage of pickled slaw, this crusade of crocked cabbage…and my little girl’s enthusiasm hasn’t waned in the slightest.

“Hailey are you very excited to come here to the sauerkraut festival?” I ask.

“Sauerkraut, yea!” she screams, ecstatically.

“What do you want to do when we get there?”

“I dunno…eat sauerkraut?”

(MUSIC POST…HOLD FOR A FEW BEATS, THEN HOLD UNDER UNTIL NEAR END WHEN WE RETURN TO MINIVAN)

“Reubens! Let’s roll! Let’s go! Let’s go baby, I need some Reubens!” barks a vendor.

To the uninitiated, a Reuben is corned beef, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing, and of course, sauerkraut on rye. The vendor hands Hailey one about the size of a football…

“Whoa!” she says.

“We have sauerkraut brownies, pies, cookies….bread…all of our stuff has sauerkraut in it," proclaims another vendor.

“What do you think sounds good here, hon?" I ask.

“The sauerkraut brownie.”

I buy one and pause for her reaction.

“Ahh, umm! It’s good,” she says, giving me a thumbs up.

“It’s good? Do you taste the sauerkraut?”

“Yeah.”

Next stop: the Snowfloss sauerkraut booth. Katie Smith is a Snowfloss brand spokesperson.

“They’re expecting about 500,000 people this year," says Smith. "Usually we get about 330,000, but we’ve got beautiful weather and it’s a nice time to come out.”

That’s right. HALF a MILLION people here, for pickled cabbage.

That’s about twice the number in the bleachers at the Indy 500, and eight times the turnout for Nevada’s “Burning Man” festival.

Race cars and burning effigies are apparently no match for sauerkraut.

(GRADUALLY FADE OUT MUSIC; BRING UP MINIVAN AC AMBI)

But everything has its limits, and soon Hailey and I are back at the minivan.

“Well I don’t know if…it’s possible, but I think you and I are sauerkrauted out…” I say, slumping into the seat.

"Yeaaaah……" yawns my daughter.

"But it was a good time!"

"Yep…it was all that fun….”

Brian Bull, 90.3

Time to get home!

(Editor's note: The annual Sauerkraut Festival starts tomorrow in the southern village of Waynesville, and lasts all weekend.