Sunday, July 29, 2007

Festivals in Rain or Sunshine: International and German Festivals

Today was a good day to get rained on in and around Baltimore. Which sucks if you're a festival goer. There were two this weekend, and I left one when it started raining. I left just before it downpoured. But I got to the second, which was mostly indoors. By that time it didn't matter - the rain had stopped. D'oh!

I'm tired, and I really don't feel like writing that much. So, gifted with the gab as I am, I will nevertheless try to keep my descriptions brief.

International Festival

It was pretty cloudy when I got to Poly Western, where Baltimore's International Festival was held. Right next to the school were lots of rides. Next to those were various information booths - several empty - and kiosks of baskets and African art. Next to those were various food booths, arranged in a U around a central stage. Across the fence from that were a bunch of soccer games composed of teams representing their various countries of origin (last year I saw teams representing Sénégal, Trinidad, El Salvador and South Korea). This year the games didn't stop because of the rain; they stopped because of the lightning.

But before the lightning, I did manage to stop at the South Carolina BBQ and Catering booth (they were also at Artscape), with lots of good Southern, African American and South Carolinian food. I got a yummy pork BBQ sandwich for $6. A few feet away I got a small but filling cup of mango lassi from the Kumari booth. I finished the lassi before it rained. I finished the BBQ in my car, soaking wet.

German Festival

By the time I got to the State Fairgrounds, it had stopped raining. I parked (luckily, so close) and paid the $5. Soccer continued to pervade today's festivals, as a major co-sponsor of this event was the Baltimore Kickers, Baltimore's German-American soccer team (though by no means do you have to be German to join; you do, however, have to try out first). They ran about half of the food and information booths; of the other half, most of them were run by the Edelweiss Club, Baltimore's German-American glee club.

Lots of lovely German products on sale, as well as stuff from as far as Austria, Lithuania and Poland. But I went for the food. And to buy food was to support the Baltimore Kickers and the Edelweiss Club - worthy causes, I would say. I started off with an apple strudel from the Original Strudel Factory (half for $3.75). Next I gave $6.75 to the Kickers for a wonderful plate of knockwurst, saurekraut and potato salad ($6.75). I couldn't finish it; my belly was already full from the BBQ and the strudel. But I forged on for some beer at another booth (I forget who manned it). I had my choice of two lovely beers, Paulaner (a pilsner), and the darker Hacker-Pschorr. I got the HP ($4), which had a nice peppery taste. I left with one more dessert, three topkuss pastries (or "foam kisses," $2) from a local German bakery. It's ridiculously creamy inside. Yum.

Okay, not as short as I had hoped, but shorter than I thought it'd be!

(Oh, and for the record: Constantine's was at the German Festival. Five and counting!)

Other photos:

This is the same South Carolina BBQ & Catering company from the International Festival. They're really from SC but live in Bawlmer. This is them at Artscape.

Strudel - lots and lots of strudel!

The Baltimore Kickers are very involved in this festival, as are the Edelweiss Club and the German Society of Maryland. It was almost as if, like, five of these booths were around.

I didn't get to try anything from the Edelweiss Bakery & Cafe on Harford Road. So I'm at least giving a shout-out to 'em here.

Same with Aunt Iffy's Kitchen at the International Festival (here they are at the Caribbean Festival). I went to the International Festival last year, and had a good goat curry from them. Or was it the jollof rice?

And a traditionally-dressed German-American couple walk off into the sunset, er, light.


Cruel Hazel said...

I'm half German, I feel like I should start keeping track of these things. Frankly, the only German fest that ever makes my calendar is Oktoberfest.
Eins, Zwei, Drei; G'Suffa!

John said...

There's an Oktoberfest sometime in October. Or did they schedule it for September this year? Oh well.