CALEDONIA — Kraut Music Fest may not return this summer.
Festival organizers have not yet submitted an application to use Caledonia-Mount Pleasant Memorial Park. Without that application, it appears that Kraut Music Fest 2019 may be called off less than 50 days before the three-day celebration is scheduled to kick off for the fifth straight year.
Kraut Music Fest returned in 2015 after a 12-year hiatus. It was scheduled for June 7-9 in Memorial Park this summer; Memorial Park is run jointly by the villages of Caledonia and Mount Pleasant.
RACINE COUNTY — Beer gardens are now allowed in county-owned parks.
In a press release emailed to media Thursday evening, the Village of Caledonia announced that the Joint Park Commission had come under the impression that “Kraut Music Fest is not moving forward for this year.”
Village Administrator Tom Christensen said, “The Kraut Fest Committee has to decide if they can pull it off in so short a time.”
Kraut Fest is run by its own committee, separate from the villages that manage the park.
Christensen said that one of the main detriments to the festival this year was the March 22 resignation of Memorial Park’s director, Jim Svoboda, who had been a co-chairperson of Kraut Fest. Svoboda did not reply to an email Thursday afternoon, and Christensen declined to say why he resigned.
The Kraut Music Fest Committee elected not to make a comment Thursday evening.
Everything else going as planned
The Franksville Craft Beer Garden — as well as other events like Movies in the Park and the second annual Franksville Food Truck Festival scheduled for Sept. 6-7 — is not expected to be affected by whatever does or doesn’t happen with Kraut Fest.
“The beer garden is moving full-steam ahead,” said Ken Michel, the beer garden’s owner.
Kraut Fest’s plans appear to have fallen apart in only the last two months.
As recently as Feb. 22, Memorial Park’s Facebook page was still promoting Kraut Music Fest. Tickets were already being sold via krautfestwisco.com and the planned music lineup — including ‘80s band A Flock of Seagulls — had been published.
A 5K run and other activities, including food trucks, fireworks, carnival, helicopter rides and a sauerkraut eating contest, had been planned as well.
The impact of Kraut Fest
Kraut Fest had a 50-plus-year run that ended in 2003, before returning 12 years later at Memorial Park.
After its hiatus, Kraut Fest had been considered a savior of Memorial Park by some, since it drew an estimated 40,000 people over four days and raised approximately $68,000 to improve the park in 2015. Svoboda told The Journal Times in 2016 that he had even told the Memorial Park’s board it might have been better to just sell the land to a developer, but Kraut Fest played a big role in the park’s revival.
Kraut Fest attendance was considerably lower in June 2018, due in large part to unfavorable weather conditions.