A relentless "ear worm" and warm hometown memories
Thank you, Rolf Miske.
For whatever reason, loyal listener Rolf thought I'd enjoy this video, circa 1990, for Sheboygan's annual Bratwurst Day festivities.
Love the truly Sheboygan references--"down by Prange's", "ya, hey, once en so". Music to this native's ears. Then there's the weapons-grade 90's hair on Fritz Boygan's partner. Yowsah. That jingle ear-wormed me all weekend long, as I cut the grass, hauled mulch, ate dinner, watched hockey: ya hey, once en so...a bratwurst and a beer to go.
So many Brat Day memories, so little time. As a kid growing up in the 60's I remember the bash being both a celebration and a concern. It was quite a party, as I recall, with local legends spread about drunks waking up the next day sleeping on curbs and couples being found being couples in bushes. Some blamed it on outsiders--surely no well-bred Sheboyganite would get caught over-served or co-mingling in a neighbor's landscaping--most likely from Illinois. Even back then, we blamed our friends south of the border for all manner of things.
The original Brat Days was a city-wide affair and very tavern-centric. The official web site says it began as Sheboygan turned 100 years old in 1953. Almost every bar sponsored what we locals call "a fry" and the grills got sparked early. So did the taps, with predictable results. The troubles soon started overshadowing the fun, though, and the plug got pulled by voters in a 1966 referendum. The Jaycees resuscitated the event, but it was a gradual process starting with "German Days" in the early 70's. The full-blown Brat Days re-emerged in '78 with one major change: everything moved to Kiwanis Park on the banks of the mighty Sheboygan River. No more parties at every corner tap. Organizers added big-name acts and, at least for a while, a controversial brat-eating contest that drew ESPN coverage (until one local beefed about how gross and unsightly the event was).
I haven't been to Brat Days in a while--seems there's always a commitment that clashes with it that first week of August. I did have the honor of being the grand marshall of the Brat Days parade back in the 90's, right around the time of the above mentioned commercial. I remember it involved speaking at a Saturday morning dignitary breakfast and then waving at folks from the back of a convertible. In between, the Jaycees forced me into a downtown bar and poured beer down my throat.
I don't remember much about the ensuing cavalcade.
I didn't recall the TV spot or the jingle, either, until Rolf's e-mail. Lots of good memories from a time before my hometown became a national punch line. Things are quieter in Sheboygan now, and this former local is happy about that.
Yeah hey. Once en so.