I LOVE YOUR WIENER SCHNITZEL
My family moved to Phoenixville 9 years ago, right before the town’s revitalization took place. It used to be that whenever we said, “we live in Phoenixville” eyebrows were raised, lips sneered, and only a polite, “Oh, that’s nice,” would be issued.
Now, there are genuine smiles given, no gasping, and often, “How cool!” can be heard. I am convinced that my awesome coolness is what is responsible for the town’s general revival.
Since the town’s upsurge, we now have hip stores and trendy restaurants lining Bridge Street and many of the beautiful Victorian homes have been renovated. But even in its less trendy days, Phoenixville was always a family town, a town where people knew each other and a place where generation after generation lived. In other words, a great place to raise children. I think that Phoenixville is full of hard working people who have families and if there is any excuse to party, we are there!
Because of this fact, this town has a plethora of festivals; from the Celtic festival, F.A.M.E festival, Dogwood festival, the Firebird festival, and my favorite-the Blob festival.
All of these events are normally well advertised, often with banners strewn atop the streets, where no one could miss them. There was one event I came across, though, that I never was warned about. I’m still not sure what it was called. Perhaps the Old Dudes on Motorcycle festival would be fitting.
I was sitting at Artisans Café one day when I heard a thundering sound. When I looked out the window, it wasn’t an approaching storm I saw, but a large number of motorcycles parking on the street. White-haired, leather wearing dudes were dismounting the bikes and helping their ‘old ladies’ off the backs, then wandered around, checking out the other motorcycles.
These motorcycle enthusiasts, with their balding heads, protruding bellies, and blurry tattoos, were obviously having a good time. There was a lot of back slapping and admiring of each others ‘hogs’. I almost wanted to join in their festivities, but feared that with my lack of cool wheels and one measly, un-blurry tattoo, I wouldn’t be accepted.
Most of the festivals in Phoenixville, however, are for everyone and are very family friendly. Most recently, two new events joined the ranks of the long list; the Blues festival, and Oktoberfest.
The Blues festival had an amazing turn out for a first time event, possibly because the music was so amazing, but most likely because it was free. It took place in Reeves Park with the musicians playing on stage in the amphitheater. Most of the patrons of the Blues festival sat in the benches, but many others set up lawn chairs or blankets, adding to the party-like atmosphere. Many, including my 5 year old son, were up dancing to the music and having a fantastic time.
Although there were many families attending the Oktoberfest this month, I have a feeling that the ambiance changed as the night wore on. The reason for this can be found in the translation of the word Oktoberfest, which is German for ‘drink too much beer, eat too much bratwurst, and then barf on your lederhosen’.
A few blocks of Bridge Street were closed off for everyone’s safe beer drinking enjoyment. I guess they figured with all that bratwurst and beer consumption, there was bound to be some stumbling into the street anyways, so why not keep everyone safe.
There were also an excess of men wearing lederhosen who were there to play German music. Even though polkas and traditional German music aren’t on my I Pod play list, I do recognize the musical ability it takes to play a really good tuba solo.
Seeing all those men in lederhosen invariably makes me compare it to the Celtic festival which is resplendent with kilt wearing dudes. The 1st reason I go to the Celtic festival is for the Irish music and the 2nd reason is for the kilts.
Okay, so the 1st reason is for the kilts.
But lieder hosen, well, let’s just say that even the Rock would look like a sissy sporting that getup- and believe me, most of the gents at Phoenixville’s Oktoberfest who wore girly shoes, knee socks, shorts with suspenders, and goofy hats- did not look like the Rock.
I don’t mean to cast aspersions on German culture at all- I LOVE wiener schnitzel- I’m commenting solely about the fashion faux pas of grown men wearing brightly colored shorts with suspenders.
I know what you’re thinking; kilts are basically men wearing skirts; kind of girly, right? Not when they are sporting a dagger stuck in their sock.
Maybe they should add a manlier element to the lederhosen ensemble. How about a weapon tucked into the suspenders, or maybe a Chinese fighting star hidden behind the feather in their hats?
All I know is that when we saw a lederhosen clad senior gentleman walk towards us at the festival, my daughter was so frightened that she hid behind me. I’m hoping that sight is burned into her retinas and will stave off puberty for a few more years.