This past weekend, I made sure to drop by the annual Germanfest Picnic that always sets the mood for mid-August in Dayton, and as always, the food left me wondering if the folks that organize it shouldn’t just open a restaurant and make a fortune already. I could eat a mountain of that potato salad!
The annual event is held at Carillon Park, and while it seems to be a smaller event than many of the other big food festivals around town, it’s no less bathed in history, culture, and interesting things to see. Of course there are a ton of import beers, they define the festival every year, but the folks from some of the local breweries made their way out too, for a craft beer garden, which appealed to my inner localvore. Of course the German beers are what bring people back every year, but you’d really be blown away to find out that the stuff being brewed up locally has a lot to add as far as flavor goes; these beers that go well with German food, many of them are German styles.
And of course, the food! It’s hard to find good German food in this area. There isn’t a big German restaurant around here, so unless you’re ready to travel to one of the nearby cities, you’ve got to be ready to invest a little bit of patience in waiting for this stuff. The German Potato salad is always a crowd favorite, I hear about it time and again. They also sold their outstanding schnitzel dinner with sauerkraut and horseradish, an annual favorite. The dinners you find in the main tent are all made by volunteers, which, again, always leaves me blown away that they haven’t made it into a restaurant already. I love the stuff!
Sorry to say I missed out on the opportunity to run up and down the big inflatable gym, and my hands were too full of beer to be able to shop around at the beer steins and historic books that you can peruse at the place, but it was a great time nonetheless. Actually, it was really very educational this year, the Germanfest event hearkens back to the fact that much of Dayton in the past has had a large number of ethnic Germans, and this year, with the anniversary of the Great Dayton Flood, a ton of stuff was on hand to help people remember that. It’s inspiring to see such a rich attention to detail of Gem City’s history, and there are few other opportunities, I feel, to really dive into it.