Popular Evansville German Beer Festival Returns to Evansville in Early August
Summertime in Evansville means the return of a number of things; the (sometimes stifling) heat and humidity, the Otters returning to Bosse Field for another baseball season, fireworks on the riverfront on the 4th of July, and Germania Maennerchor Volksfest, the three-day beer festival that celebrates the city's rich German heritage. As it has since day one, the event will feature live music, authentic German food, and plenty of ice-cold beer to enjoy with friends and family. But, this year's event will also feature something no other Volksfest has ever had before.
What is a Maennerchor?
I've lived in Evansville my entire life and have been to Volksfest many, many times since being legally old enough to do so, and I've always wondered what exactly the word, "Maennerchor" meant. With that said, I never obsessed over it enough to actually look it up because my main concern was to go there and drink beer. While that's still the case, I did finally take a minute to Google the word, and according to Wikipedia, "Maennerchor" (pronounced MEN-ER-CORE) means, "men's chorus" which is a name given to German Social Clubs.
The Evansville Maennerchor has been around for over 120 years. According to its website, the club was founded in 1900 "by a group of individuals dedicated to sharing their passion with others." The club hosted its first Volksfest 34 years later as a way to celebrate the area's "German heritage and culture with authentic food, drinks, and activities." It was an annual event until the club stopped hosting it in 1941 when public opinion in America began to turn anti-German due to the events of World War II. Over 20 years later, in 1962, the club brought Volksfest back and the popular event has happened every year since.
What Happens at Volksfest?
Did I mention there's beer? While that is certainly the main reason many residents attend, the event also offers authentic German food like bratwurst, pig knuckles, and sauerkraut, as well as authentic German music from the Rhein Valley Brass, the Ratskeller Band, and Cincinnati Schnapps. By the way, if beer isn't your thing, the event will also offer other options such as wine and hard seltzers.
What's New at Volksfest
For the first time ever, this year's event will also feature a half-pot drawing. Half-pots have always been a popular fundraising option for non-profit organizations such as Germania, however, they've become increasingly popular over the past few years thanks to the tremendous success of the Fall Festival half-pot hosted by the West Side Nut Club which has seen its jackpot climb to over $1 million the past few years.
Unlike the Nut Club and Hadi Shrine half-pots, Volksfest will draw a winner each night with the winner pocketing half of the money raised from the day's ticket sales. Tickets will be $5 each or three for $10 and will be sold in the downstairs Rathskeller with each winning ticket number posted on Germania’s Facebook page.
Opening ceremonies and the traditional tapping of the first keg will take place at 6:00 PM on Thursday. This year's event will also feature special activities including a "5K Brat Trot" at 8:00 AM on Saturday and a Kids Corner Saturday morning from 9-11 for children 12 and under featuring free food, backpacks, a bouncy house, a fire truck, and other activities.
Admission is free admission for all ages until 2:00 PM each day before switching to 21 and over. A $5 admission fee will be charged after 4:00 PM. Officials with Germania encourage anyone 25 and under to bring two forms of government ID with one featuring a photo.
The event will take place at Germania Maennerchor at 916 North Fulton Avenue on Evansville's west side.