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Sauerkraut Festival celebrates end of an era

Festival marked by quirky traditions draws crowd to Scappoose for bowling, bands, and of course, sauerkraut

Photo Credit: COURTNEY VAUGHN - Polish exchange students Magdalena Kunicka and Artur Jozwiak get ready to taste sauerkraut ice cream served by Lyanne Cook. The students are studying at Scappoose High School.Thousands flocked to Heritage Park in Scappoose on Saturday, Sept. 20, for the annual Scappoose Sauerkraut Festival.

Beth Pulito, who lead event planning for the fest, said temperatures in the 90s may have dampened attendance Saturday, but vendors reported good foot traffic and attendees enjoyed the festivities offered.

Photo Credit: COURTNEY VAUGHN - Betsy Stephens serves up sauerkraut chili at a food vendor booth to benefit the cemetery. Stephens and Josh Laica said people usually hesitate to opt for the sour cabbage in their chili, but they're hooked after one taste.A longstanding sauerkraut-eating contest yielded only three contestants, with Kenny Phillips of Scappoose besting his competition.

Other traditions, like bowling with cabbage, drew people in while live music permeated from a nearby stage and visitors piled on the onions and relish at the Scappoose Community Club's Scappoose sauerkraut sandwich booth.

The sauerkraut festival has become a beloved tradition in Scappoose. This year, the community club gave nod to the event's history by giving away Sauerkraut Festival pins, circa 1991.

“We found them in our storage container,” Pulito said.

Festival organizers from the Scappoose Community Club pitched this year's fest as the city's last. Pulito noted some festivalgoers were sad to hear the event would be going away after 25 years.

"What we had told people was if they have strong feelings about it and are willing to put their time and effort into it as well, they need to come to the Community Club meeting on October 15 at the Scappoose Creek Inn at 6:30 p.m.," Pulito said. She pegged the event as an overall success.

"We didn't have any hiccups," she noted. "I saw a lot of smiling faces."