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  • Megann Horstead

Wurst Fest a celebration of German culture

Provide a venue for which people can celebrate the Village of Frankfort’s German heritage, offer beer, brats and smoked sausage for sale, have the fortune of doing it on a beautiful summer night to kick off the annual Frankfort Fall Festival and the chances are people will show up by the dozens.

For the Frankfort Lions Club, it certainly proved to be true at its fourth annual Wurst Fest, held Aug. 31 in the downtown area between Kansas and Oak streets. Hundreds took to the streets of Frankfort to enjoy live entertainment, food, beverages and raffle drawings.

The festival featured an outdoor beer and wine garden type feel this time around to create a welcoming environment for the Village’s residents to enjoy.

This year, the Frankfort Lions Club worked in conjunction with the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce to put on Wurst Fest.

“It’s a really fun-filled fest that helps us raise money for our mission and helps us throughout the year to fund things, such as feeding those in need during Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Margaret Farina, a member of the Frankfort Lions Club Board of Directors. “ We also do free vision screening [and] hearing screenings for children and seniors. We donate a lot to not-for-profits—Operation Playground, Frankfort Public Library, and so many more who are in need.”

Typically, the festival brings in about 1,000 people.

The community’s excitement for Wurst Fest has grown over the last four years, Farina said.

“When we re-created the theme to a German Fest for the town’s heritage, it really took off then,” she said. “People really appreciated it. It’s a community event, so you know family, friends [and] neighbors, they all come here to kick off Fall Fest. [What’s] really exciting about it for [the] Frankfort Lions is we’ve traditionally kicked off the Fall Fest and the whole remainder of the weekend. So, we’re really happy we’re able to work with the chamber this year to make this happen again.”

Steve Hogan, president of Frankfort Chamber of Commerce, shared that sentiment.

“The chamber of commerce exists to provide member benefits to our business members and to support the community through our community involvement, in terms of raising money for using the business community to enhance the nonprofit groups, like the Lions Club, that are here in Frankfort,” he said. “We’re proud to provide the space, so that they can produce their Wurst Fest.”

Meghan Darnell, of Frankfort, was mingling amongst she and her friends beneath a tent illuminated by lights. She said her favorite part of Wurst Fest was coming out to have a good time with her friends and neighbors.

“I like the turnout,” she said. “I like how it was different this year. I like that you had part of the tent open at the same time… I think the vibe here—the vibe—was really good. Everybody was happy.”

Hogan said he is “ecstatic” to see how many people came out for Wurst Fest.

“It’s a testimony not only to the chamber of commerce, but to the Lions Club and the work they do,” he said. “Their mission is to provide local support to fulfill what they’re doing here in Frankfort.”


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