Report on the 46th Annual Texas Folklife Festival

The 2017 Folklife Festival, June 9-11 at San Antonio’s Institute of Texan Cultures, was held under beautiful blue skies, and the Wends were there! We served delicious food that included noodles from the TWHS kitchen thanks to Hattie and others, koch kaese sandwiches, barbecue chicken drumsticks with an extraordinary sauce, pickled watermelon rind, lemonade, and – of course – Shiner beer. We’ve served Shiner beer at our booth for 30 or more years, I think.

Ron Lammert, George Garza, Joe O’Leary and Doug Hingst loaded and delivered booth supplies to our shady (after 2:00 pm) spot on the festival grounds. Sonya and Roger Lentz, Mary Roszell, David and Crystal Knippa, Richard and Cathleen Gruetzner, and Mike and Clair Coffey completed the booth set-up so we could begin ladling noodles at 5:00 pm on the first day.

Sonya Lentz and Mary Roszell compiled a book – a sort of “Reader’s Digest” of Wendish history – that was on display for all our visitors. By all accounts, our visitors enjoyed paging through the book and learning all about Wendish history and the Texas Wends.

Sonya is also to be thanked for tweaking my family’s recipe for pickled watermelon rind, and then personally making and selling “tons” of the stuff. She also made the koch kaese for the sandwiches. Sonya’s husband Roger spent many hours fabricating a new structure for the booth that is lighter in weight and more easily transportable. He also built a specialized sink, and sturdy platforms for our very popular washer pitching area. Sonya and her husband Roger contribute many hours to make sure that our booth at the festival is THE BEST booth at the festival and I don’t know what I would do without their energy and their help.

Other volunteers who cheerfully helped include Evelyn Buchhorn, Jim Wukasch, Clarence and Nelda Pampell, Ann Noack, Mike Noack, Daniel and Amara Knight and son Joshuah, and so many more people that I’ve lost count.

For the first time in more than 20 years, my dear son Benjamin was not with us for the festival, and he was (and remains) greatly missed. But my grandson, Bruce Wayne Knippa, was with us for his third festival! To God be the glory!