Schmeckfest: South Dakota's Mennonite "dinner theater"
|Photos by Nikki Miller|
To a food enthusiast traveling from the city, Schmeckfest is a Brave New (Old) World, to be sure.
|Kuchen for sale|
You can expect this year's menu to look similar to last's, which featured:
- Nudel Suppe (Noodle Soup)
- Grune Schauble Suppe (Green Bean Soup)
- Danpfleisch (Stewed Beef)
- Bratwurst (Pork Sausage)
- Gebratene Kartofflen (Fried Potatoes)
- Kase mit Knopfle (Cheese Buttons)
- Salat (Lettuce Salad)
- Geschmacke (Relishes)
- Sauerkraut (Um, Sauerkraut)
- Zwiebach (Twin Buns)
- Schwarzbrotchen (Whole Wheat Buns)
- Pluma Moos (Dried Fruit Sauce)
- Kuchen Mach Kuchen (Poppy Seed Rolls)
- Kaffee (Coffee)
Schmeckfest has grown significantly since 1959, a year when guests were encouraged to "take all you want, but eat all you take," and the festival has over time expanded from one day to four. When you compare its first year with its most well-attended (2008), you get a roomful of South Dakotans who ate: four gallons of grune schauble suppe vs. 48, 90 pounds of danpfleisch vs. 500, seven gallons of sauerkraut vs. 34, and 1.3 pounds of coffee vs. 48.
The festival also features displays of culinary and handicraft arts--think kuchen and quilts-- historical presentations in its museum dedicated to the history of German pioneers and Native Americans, and a full-stage musical theater production performed by locals: Jesus Christ Superstar last year, and Kiss Me Kate this.
|Museum dedicated to Native American history on Schmeckfest grounds|
|Museum dedicated to German pioneer history on Schmeckfest grounds|
Meal tickets are sold in advance, and advance seats for the musical are also available, but they do go fast. Perhaps there's not much else to do in sleepy Freeman, South Dakota.
Freeman is just under five hours from the Twin Cities. Check it out--you just might make a neuer freund.
|Food prepared by community members available for purchase|