This is my last photo from our Saturday night in Gruene, Texas. It’s blurry because it was taken from the bed of a pick-up truck where I sat for our late-night Uber ride home. It was a very Texas night.
We arrived in New Braunfels (population: 63,000) early in the evening and made our way to Wurstfest, not knowing what to expect. In the middle of seemingly nowhere, we came upon a massive German festival: thousands of Texans clad in lederhosen and dirndl eating foot-long wursts on a stick and drinking beer from large pitchers at narrow wooden tables. Essentially, chaos.
Luckily for us, friends had snagged a section of these long tables in the “Big Tent” (das grosse zelt) where an all-female German band was leading hundreds of drunken sausage-lovers in hilarious German polka ballads, or at least that’s what I imagined they were. The beer flowed and the dancing got wild – in the aisles, on the benches, even on the tables (to which one of the vigilant guards would shine a bright flashlight in the perpetrator’s face until they climbed down). It was a true Oktoberfest-style celebration, a 10-day party that is the highlight of life in New Braunfels. I’m thankful for our snippet of it.
But we had more plans for the evening, and had to be on our way before long – to Gruene, a “former” town that is now a part of New Braunfels (apparently it’s population dropped to 75 in the 1930’s and never quite recovered). The most of the town we saw was one intersection – which may be the only one – where Gruene Hall is located. This renowned establishment has been welcoming country musicians from all over this great state since 1878, and is Texas’ oldest operating dance hall. It was such a charming place, an open-air wooden structure with low ceilings and a small stage. But don’t let the modest structure fool you – they’ve had some big names come through (The Dixie Chicks, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson), and on Saturday, hosted Houston-born Cory Morrow and his band.
I’ll admit I don’t like country music, but I really did enjoy Cory Morrow. Perhaps it was the venue, or the two stepping (so much fun!), or my bottle of Lone Star, but in spite of my preconceived notion, they sounded great.
I hope this won’t be my only trip to Gruene Hall. Although before I go back, I’ll be sure to invest in a pair of cowboy boots. When in Texas…