Got mustard? Belleville will try for bratwurst world record at city's bicentennial

News-DemocratJanuary 22, 2014 

Carol Bartle, a member of the executive committee, reads a list of entertainment and other events for the bicentennial of Belleville. The information was unveiled at a morning press conference at Belleville City Hall. The Beach Boys, preceded by the Bob Kuban Brass will perform on Friday of the bicentennial weekend celebration. The Roots & Boots Tour featuring country stars Sammy Kershaw, Darryl Worley, and Aaron Tippin, plus the Confederate Railroad will perform on Saturday. Some artists have been signed for Sunday's activities, but more will be soon.

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— For Belleville's 200th birthday celebration in September, the city will try to set a Guinness World Record for the longest grilled bratwurst, among other events.

Volunteers will cook and measure a 200-foot bratwurst during Oktoberfest weekend in downtown Belleville, organizers said Wednesday.

A 200-foot long bratwurst would be a little more than the length of Belleville City Hall, five ladder fire trucks or 25 Big Red Shoe statues on West Main Street.

Teresa Hessel, of the Belleville 200 Committee, said organizers wanted the record attempt to be specific to the city's German heritage.

B & D Meats in Belleville will create the sausage, which will then be grilled on North Church Street by East Main Street near the Belleville 200 memorabilia store, Hessel said.

"B & D will bring the brat and a backup so we can attempt the record twice," Hessel said.

To set a record, the bratwurst cannot break while it is cooking, so many volunteers will be needed to help simultaneously turn the bratwurst, Hessel said.

Pieces of the cooked bratwurst will then be sold with proceeds going to food pantries, or the food might be donated directly to the pantries, Hessel said.

The committee is still talking to businesses in Belleville about building a grill large enough to cook the bratwurst, Hessel said.

Organizers are waiting to hear from Guinness World Records officials about whether a record already exists or if Belleville will attempt a record in a new category.

Hessel said an online search shows that there has been a bratwurst that is more than 170 feet long made in the United States, but that attempt was not officially verified by Guinness authorities.

The Guinness website does not have any records related to bratwursts, but they do have a record for the world's longest sausage, which was 36.75 miles and set in the United Kingdom.

The bicentennial event committee announced the world record attempt and more bands planned for the big celebration at a news conference Wednesday morning at City Hall.

The country band LoCash Cowboys will perform as Sunday's headliner during the Sept. 19-21 Oktoberfest weekend.

The Bob Kuban Band was added to Friday's lineup. Kuban, of St. Louis, is best known for his 1966 No. 12 pop hit "The Cheater" and is included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's one-hit wonder exhibits.

In November, the committee announced some of the headliners: The Beach Boys will play on Sept. 19, and Confederate Railroad and The Roots & Boots Tour will play on Sept. 20.

The Beach Boys will include members Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, Christian Love, Randell Kirsch, Tim Bonhomme, John Cowsill and Scott Totten.

The Roots & Boots Tour on Saturday will include country music artists Sammy Kershaw, Darryl Worley and Aaron Tippin.

All of the concerts will be free and held in downtown Belleville.

In addition, there will be a Civil War re-enactment at Hough Park during Oktoberfest weekend possibly with people from other states, including Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota. A Civil War re-enactment was held at the 175th anniversary for the city of Belleville.

Bob Fritz, of distributing company, Robert "Chick" Fritz Inc., said many of the events will recognize the city's history.

"We want to have fun and we want everyone to celebrate our heritage," Fritz said.

Another event during Oktoberfest will be an old German street fair at Abend and Mascoutah streets.

Organizers thanked volunteers and donors alike, including premier sponsor Lindenwood University, and said the city will be looking for even more residents to chip in.

Mayor Mark Eckert said 2014 will be a year for everyone to reflect on the city's accomplishments, and have events to bring people back to Belleville and attract new visitors.

"The enthusiasm about this year is contagious," Eckert said. "We have an unbelievable volunteer spirit that lifts up our city everyday. It's going to be a great year to serve as mayor of this great city."

The next bicentennial event is a Bicentennial Gala held at 5 p.m. on March 8 at Fischer's Restaurant. The dinner is $100 per person and reservations must be made by Feb. 24 at the committee's website or the Bicentennial Store at 227 E. Main St.

For more information, visit www.belleville200.com.

Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at jlee@bnd.com or 239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BNDJLee.

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