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Cruising NWKS: German traditions the draw of Herzogfest





VICTORIA -- There was just something about the plate of noodles and beans Tracy Dinkel was eating in the middle of Main Street on Friday night that made it the best --  even better than when his wife makes the German dish.

It could have been the atmosphere -- with traditional polka music coming from the stage in the park, the smell of a German kitchen wafting throughout town and most of the town of 1,200 flooding Main Street and the park.

After all, that's what the 30th annual Herzogfest was all about -- food, music and camaraderie.

"It's nice to see some people we haven't seen in a long time," Dinkel's wife, Maria, said. "There's always someone. We get to catch up on old times."

But while Maria's talking, it's likely Tracy will be enjoying another plate of food.

"It's just good here," said Tracy Dinkel, a lifelong Victoria resident.

And why not?

His plate of noodles and beans came from the St. Fidelis Catholic Church food booth, supported greatly by the Christian Mothers organization and coordinated by Bertha Rose Brungardt.

"They're just making the German food that has come from their heritage," Brungardt said of the families who volunteered to help make the numerous dishes served at the booth Friday and Saturday.

That food was exactly what Tom Pfeifer was looking forward to as his family gathered in the park -- all six children and all but one daughter-in-law from as far as St. Louis and Denver. Pfeifer grew up in Victoria but spent almost 30 years away before returning in 2007.

"Now we're locals again," he said, adding the family plans around Herzogfest to make sure they will be in town.

Though the Pfeifers' children didn't grow up attending Herzogfest, it hasn't taken them long to figure out what it's all about.

"Mostly the music," mom Kathy Pfeifer said.

"Jimmy Dee," son Eric Pfeifer added.

Consisting of Victoria natives, local band Jimmy Dee and the Fabulous Destinations performed Saturday night, following a night of music Friday featuring the Wes Windholz Band, Shades of Gray and national recording artist Wade Bowen.

"They have awesome variety," Kathy Pfeifer said.

And to go along with the food and music, Herzogfest featured a parade, polka Mass, games for children and a talent show.

"It's a big town party," Tom Pfeifer said. "You hate to miss the biggest party of the year."