Jack Schulte, Craig Worstll and Mick Noll fry goetta and onions as they prepare the world's largest Philly goetta sandwich.


Goetta Eatin'…And Twice as Much

COVINGTON Seconds anyone? Northern Kentuckians can expect an extra serving of goetta this year, as two festivals will celebrate a Greater Cincinnati breakfast tradition this June.

This year, Glier's Goetta of Covington is packing up its "Goettafest" tradition and taking it across the river to Sawyer Point in Cincinnati on June 12 and 13. This will be the fourth Goettafest, but the first year it won't be held at MainStrasse.

However, MainStrasse Association will still hold its goetta festival, sans Glier's, the following weekend, June 19 and 20.

"We had a very good relationship with MainStrasse Village but things just weren't working out, so we thought we better take care of it on our own," says Mark Balasa, Glier's marketing director. He says the move was done to keep the mission "a total celebration of all things goetta" on track and keep the focus on the food. "It's about connecting people with goetta and goetta with Glier's."

Last year, Glier's officials thought that connection was getting lost when the MainStrasse Association joined with the River Raid Renaissance Festival during the annual goetta celebration. MainStrasse Director Jerry Bamberger says the Renaissance Festival draws more people, but he assures hungry festivalgoers there will still be plenty of goetta a sausage-like combination of pinhead oats, pork and seasoning to go around.

"Goetta balls, Goetta spaghetti, goetta lasagna, goetta on a stick, goetta burgers, and goetta fudge," says Bamberger. "We've got it all."

MainStrasse Association, which hosted its goetta festival along with Glier's the past three years, has joined with Elsmere-based J.B.'s Bar-B-Q to sponsor the downtown Covington event on June 19 and 20. The MainStrasse goetta festival was chosen as one of the top 10 events of the summer by the Kentucky Department of Tourism last year, and again this year.

"We hope they come into Northern Kentucky and Covington and if they're from out of town they can see what the area has to showcase," Bamberger says. "People can just come down during a summer day and sit in the shade and watch the world go by."

Come to-Goetta

Festival organizers are giving them more than just passersby to watch.

"Our list of entertainment is second to none," says Bamberger. The festival schedule includes a 10-band lineup, 40 arts and craft booths and nine food booths.

Across the river, Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken has proclaimed Saturday, June 12, 2004 as "Glier's Goettafest Day." GoettaFest organizers hope music, with Fiddlefandango, featuring bluegrass performers Vern and Kitty McIntyre, and New York-based singer-songwriter, Kristen Kreft, will attract a few more patrons, and keep visitors enjoying the goetta pizzas and goetta Reubens into the evening. Official Goetta Ambassador certificates, modeled on the idea of the Kentucky Colonel, will be awarded to those who've helped spread the word about goetta and Glier's over the years, including Covington Mayor Butch Callery and City Manager Greg Jarvis.

With the two festivals lining up, it begs the question Are Northern Kentuckians hungry enough for two goetta festivals or will there be a food fight? Balasa says that remains to be seen, but there are two Oktoberfests, so he's hopeful family traditions can make these festivals equally as popular.

"It's the family, it's ‘mom used to do this' and ‘dad used to prepare it this way.' It's an emotional connection," says Balasa.

Glier's will host its festival on the same weekend as Newport's annual Italian Festival. Balasa hopes patrons can enjoy the unique cuisines at both festivals, taking advantage of the Purple People Bridge to sample all the offerings. Balasa says those who come to their festival are motivated by their stomachs.

"This festival is all about food. More people come for the food than to drink beer."

Glier's is the largest producer of goetta in the world, packing about one million pounds of the German delicacy every year. Balasa says the company, which was founded in 1946, is not abandoning Northern Kentucky.

"By moving to Sawyer Point doesn't mean we're saying were not Kentucky people. We certainly are. This is just across the river…We are a very proud Northern Kentucky company."

Posted 6-11-2004

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