It's the last Saturday in October and that can mean only one thing: The Sausage Festival in Elberta. About an hour's drive from home, this quaint little town in Alabama is filled with people from all over helping them celebrate their German ancestry. The event is organized by the Volunteer Fire Department but the funds raised also support other community events. Like any good festival, there's entertainment, booths filled with things you can buy and food. The last one is what we came for but we enjoyed the other parts too.
The camera came along for the trip and I wanted some photos of the firemen cooking the sausage. They do it on a covered patio and have the area roped off so spectators don't get too close to the hot pit. As I got close to the ropes, it was obvious I wasn't going to get the picture I wanted. The sun was at the wrong angle and all the smoke from the fire was blowing right at me. We worked our way around to the other side of the building but that's where all the firemen were congregating. Unsure if it was restricted, I asked one of them if I could enter to take a few pictures as long as I didn't get in their way. Sure, he said...come with me. And right up to the pit we went.
So I took the first photo, hoping to capture how hard the firemen were working and how much smoke was rolling off the pit. Too bad photos don't capture the smell too...it was awesome! I would have been content at this point; I didn't want to be a nuisance. But by now, I had a director. Look...they're taking some off the grill. Don't you want a picture of that? And I did.
The sausages go into that black tub then inside the building next to the pit where they pair them up with a bun and sell them faster than they can cook them. I'd barely finished my shot when my new-found friend said They're starting to flip the racks. You'd better get a picture of that. So I did.
They must fill a dozen or so of these racks and when they take one off the end, they move all the others down the line, flipping them over so the sausages cook on the other side. The firemen who work the pit have done it so much it's like a well-choreographed dance.
I turned to walk away but my photography assistant grabbed my arm. They're loading up a new rack. You can't leave without getting a picture of that. So down to the other end of the pit we went to take that photo.
They dump a bunch of the raw links into the middle of the rack then start laying them nice and neat into the frame.
They used to make 7,000 pounds of sausage for this one-day event but one of the men there said they had 28,000 pounds this year because they always run out. That's a lot of pig!
I think my friend was out of photo ideas by this time so he let me escape but I was grateful that he helped me get behind the scenes for a up-close look at the process.
And, of course, we ate some too. I had sauerkraut on mine and while I usually have some German potato salad too, the sandwich filled me up. We were supposed to meet up with a family from El Dorado visiting in the area but somehow we missed each other. I think we were both there at the same time but never found one another.
There was country music and cloggers in one tent and the polka band in the gazebo. Maybe I should have asked this guy for a few pointers on the accordion.
Pigs, polkas and photographs...and a perfectly fine afternoon to enjoy it all.