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Staten Island, New York, United States

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Staten Island Festival Weekend Part 2: Maifest

my sister arriving at the entrance to Maifest
Maifest was the second event I attended during last weekend's big festival weekend in Staten Ilsand. It's a traditional German celebration of spring and was held Saturday in an appropriately lush meadow at Snug Harbor Cultural Center. The sun was finally out after days of rain, so there was a good size jovial crowd in attendance.

Actually, the atmosphere was goofy. As I walked under the flower-bedecked entrance arch, I heard the corny oompah band playing drinking songs and polkas I know way too well, to the point of being able to sing along a little bit in German. And, with all due respect to my own heritage, there are few sights as silly looking as grown men in lederhosen.

To tell the truth, the highlight of the Maifest for me was the excellent beer wagon. I come by this appreciation honestly. I was born in Munich during Oktoberfest, so I feel I have the right, if not the obligation to partake in quality German beer. However, this was the third day of partying in a row for me (my sister believes in celebrating birthweeks, not days - and who am I to turn her down?), so I wasn't quite up to sampling all five varieties that were being offered. I can vouch for the excellence of the maibock.

So, it was lunchtime and I needed food to go with my beer. One glance at the Nurnberger Bierhaus tent's menu and it was clear I was going off the vegetarian wagon. I find it hard to resist bratwurst, especially with good German mustard and sauerkraut. In Iowa (where my roots are), you find it on every summer barbecue. Not so much in NYC.

At about this time the other members of our party party showed up to join in the festivities. We bypassed all the crafty tables, cut a wide swath around the baked goods booth and headed to the stage to check out the "skinny German juggler". He was indeed skinny and of course dressed in lederhosen, so he had us laughing from the get-go, but his patter was hilarious. And he wasn't a bad juggler, on a unicycle, no less! He was an appropriate embodiment of the event and a good note on which to end our Maifest celebrations . . . and to move on to birthday cake at my house.

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