With Fall Fest in Garden City also comes the community's Oktoberfest celebration, and that means thousands and thousands of bierocks.
This year’s 49th annual Oktoberfest celebration lasted only one day, running from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Knights of Columbus Hall in the 200 block of Eighth Street, but the focus lies specifically in the mélange of food including beef and noodles, bratwurst, sauerkraut, weiners, and of course — bierocks.
“You can’t just go to the corner and get a bierock, a good one,” said Travis Brunson, club manager of the Knights of Columbus.
Brunson said the dough filled with sausage, cabbage, sauerkraut, onion and seasonings is the pièce de résistance of what is ultimately a celebration of meat, and lots of it.
“The key is the bread,” Brunson said, “because anybody can throw meat together, put seasoning in it and make it good. Our bread that we use for bierocks is the best in a 100-mile radius.”
Brunson declined to disclose the recipe for the bread, “because if I told you that, then everybody would be doing it.” But more on that later.
According to Brunson, it takes about 40 men and a lot of those men’s wives to make the 7,000 bierocks offered up for community consumption every year.
Brunson said the club runs out of bierocks every year, “and that’s the goal.”
Andy Schiffelbein has been helping with Garden City’s Oktoberfest celebration for about 38 years.
A lifelong resident of Holcomb, Schiffelbein said he plays a big part in making the dough for the bierocks.
“That’s what makes ours taste so good,” he said.
But when pressed on the secret of the dough, Schiffelbein was much more candid than Brunson.
“Our tip is, add wheat four in with the white flour. That’s our secret, pretty much,” Schiffelbein said.
Schiffelbein was stationed at the Oktoberfest stand on Grant Avenue, serving the patrons of Fall Fest, who stood in a line stretched all the back to Main Street from the alcove Knights encampment.
“We make a lot more bierocks than we used to,” Schiffelbein said, adding that the meaty confections require a total of about 1,000 pounds of meat, sourced through Tyson Fresh Meats in Holcomb and club member cattle donations.
This year, the Fall Fest stand only served the tasty treats from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., so Brunson was advising community members to get to the Knights Hall by 4 p.m. if they wanted to get a bierock before they ran out.
“It’s a time that our community comes together and celebrates German heritage,” Brunson said. “We did our Mexican heritage last week, had the Community Fiesta. That’s a great deal because now we’re celebrating every heritage we have. … I just think it’s a good thing for our community to come together.”
And get ready. Brunson said next year's Oktoberfest 50th anniversary in Garden City will be bigger than ever.
Contact Mark Minton at firstname.lastname@example.org.