St. Mary Catholic Church in Bear Creek will hold its 50th annual Sauerkraut Festival Friday through Sunday, Aug. 1-3.
Bill Klegin, chairman of the raffles for the festival, said the first festival was on the first Sunday in 1964.
“Thousands of people came to the first Sauerkraut Festival and have been coming the first weekend in August ever since,” Klegin said.
He said Bishop John Grellinger was the pastor at that time, and he organized it with the help of Marie Downs of Flanagan Brothers, which is now owned by Great Lakes Kraut Company.
“Bishop Grellinger started the festival in order to promote the local resources — cabbage and sauerkraut,” Klegin said. “Many of his parishioners were cabbage growers. He knew it would provide a venue for the community to get to know each other and socialize with one another.”
The money raised at the festival was used to operate St. Mary Catholic School, Klegin said.
Not much has changed in 50 years, as the festival continues to be held in early August every year.
“The good Bishop Grellinger watches over [the festival] as his remains are buried on the hill overlooking the church festival grounds,” Klegin said.
He added that many of the families who were involved in the first festival have third and fourth generation family members who work to make the festival a success today.
Today, the funds from the festival are used to subsidize St. Rose St. Mary Catholic School in Clintonville, as the two schools have since combined.
The festival gets underway on Friday, Aug. 1 when the band Vic Ferrari plays from 8 p.m. to midnight. There is a $5 cover charge for this concert. Beer and food stands will be open.
There will be a battle of the bands on Saturday night, Aug. 2. Live music performed by Pipeline and *69 will take place from 8 p.m. to midnight. There is a $5 cover charge for this concert.
Sunday, Aug. 3 gets underway with a 10:30 a.m. mass. The traditional Sauerkraut Dinner is slated for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The dinner will include pulled pork from Famous Dave’s, baked beans, hot dogs, mashed potatoes, many sauerkraut casseroles, a variety of salads, buns, pies, and cupcakes.
Cost for the dinner is $8 for adults and $4 for children.
The afternoon will be filled with children’s games, silent auctions, a country store, a craft booth, food stands and a car show.
Klegin said around 200 cars are expected for the car show. He also said visitors will have the opportunity to meet past queens, princesses and princes.
Musical entertainment on Sunday will be the Maroszek Brothers polka band from 1 to 5 p.m. A parade will take place at 1:30 p.m.
A raffle for a 2014 Camery will be held at 3 p.m. if enough tickets are sold. Tickets are $20 each, or 3 for $50. Klegin said if 800 tickets aren’t sold, then there will be a cash prize.
There will also be a cash raffle, with a top prize of $1,000. Other items will be available to be won, with a total of 10 prizes.
A quilt raffle is also scheduled.