No one in the Twin Cities knows sausages quite like Kramarczuk’s. This weekend is your change to revel in their expertise at the 5th annual Kielbasa Festival. The two-day affair will celebrate all things tubed meat, with beer and entertainment to boot.
We stopped by the Northeast deli for a quick chat with Nick Kramarczuk (below, right). We walked into the kitchen, where about 400 pounds of sausages were hanging, ready for the smoker. “We have a big delivery to get to Target Field today,” Nick says, as more sausages come cranking off the line at lightning speed.
A $15 Kielbasa Festival ticket gets you admission, plus a commemorative stein and your first beer is free. They’ll feature seven different kinds of sausages, including a VIP-only sausage that’s a special foot-long kielbasa with bacon, cheese, onion and sauerkraut. They’ll also have pierogies – or varenyky, the Ukrainian version – and a few (lucky?) members of the crowd will attempt a three-minute varenyky eating contest. “I think the winner ate 21 last year,” Nick recalls. “It’s difficult with the starchiness of the potato fillings.” Be there Saturday night around 8:30 for your chance to participate.
They’ll also debut the winner of their sausage contest. After crowd sourcing all kinds of crazy concepts, Nick is keeping mum on the flavor this year’s winner. He’s still working through test batches to ensure the finished product is up to their standards. And if you manage to not get your fill of meat, they’ll have a few desserts on hand as well – cheesecake, poppy seed swirls and an apple cake made with local apples.
And it wouldn’t be a sausage fest without some great beers on tap. “We always do Pilsner Urquell, that’s the number one seller,” Nick says. “We’ll also have Schell’s Arminius for a hoppier option, and their Oktoberfest which is really solid, and also we have Schneider Weisse, from Germany.”
Festival goers will also enjoy two full days of music, including some Eastern European sounds. “Saturday, we’re excited to have the Ukranian dance group, Cheremosh,” Nick says. “It’s acrobatic and spans all ages, that would be a great time to bring the kids in the early afternoon.”