Strassenfest, Jasper's 34th annual four day German festival, brought me to the small town. As soon as I drove within the city limits, I knew this was a big deal for the area. Dozens of homes and businesses were decorated with German flags and several city blocks were roped off for the occassion. The remainder of the town seemed very quiet; it was as though all activity outside of Strassenfest was temporarily put on hold to enjoy the communal festivities.
|Strassenfest decorations in front of Jasper's Courthouse|
|St. Joseph Catholic Church|
St. Joseph is not only integral to the heritage of Jasper, but also to its architecture. The church is stunning, with green vaulted ceilings, jewel-colored stained glass and soaring pillars. The exterior is beautiful, but the interior is literally awe inspiring.
Volunteers led tours into the bell tower through a series of wooden staircases and ladders.
|View from belltower|
In addition to the bell tower tour, I attended a polka mass at the church. I attended Catholic schools for 13 years and my family goes to Mass every week, so I am very familiar (and oftentimes bored) with the music played; I was interested to see what a polka mass could offer-- unfortunately, not much. Several polka songs were played but even this could not make mass entertaining. I know this isn't the purpose of mass, but a part of me was still hoping for more.
The mass may have been somewhat disappointing, but the food was not. For lunch, I had weinerschnitzel (breaded veal tenderloin sandwich) and sampled my boyfriend's mini bratzel (bratwurst on a pretzel bun topped with sauerkraut and mustard) served with German potato salad. Both were hearty and unhealthy and tasty, making them perfect fair food.
|bratzel with German potato salad|
|Tap dancing winners|
The unexpected finds at Strassenfest, like the dark and confusing magic act in the midst of a lighthearted talent show and killer Hispanic food amongst German stands, are what I will remember most about my visit. Who knows, maybe naechstes jahr I will find myself there once again.