This weekend, Brauhaus Schmitz will bring back the city’s largest German summer festival after a three-year hiatus.
On Saturday, June 25, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the award-winning restaurant will shut down the entire 700 block of South Street for the Sommerfest Block Party and Summer Festival. The full day of programming will feature the region’s largest Maypole, authentic German dancing, live music, flower crowns, face painting, a schnapski tent, games and much more.
One of the main pulls of the event—the German Biergarten—is also back, and will provide seating with shade for 1,000 guests. Food-wise, Chef Mason Nash will fire up currywurst, roast pork, bacon wurst, brats and pretzels, and from the taps, look for 13 different beers pouring—including Kölsch, Hefeweizens, Pilsners, Kellerbiers and Spring Bocks.
The Sommerfest VIP Brauer Bund Bierhall on the other hand—for those who purchase VIP— will include private access to bathrooms, air conditioning, indoor seating, an all-day exclusive appetizer buffet, a commemorative glass beer stein, exclusive beers and six beer tokens.
“It’s been almost three years since we have had a street festival as only we know how,” said Brauhaus owner Doug Hager in a statement. “The restaurant business has been extremely difficult recently with so many ups and downs during the pandemic, and we are so happy and so thankful to still be here. The time has come and we have waited long enough. It’s time for a party to celebrate our lucky number 13th year in business. We are ready to raise a liter with all of Philadelphia. We are bringing back all the music, dancing and authentic traditions that have made our block parties so famous. Philly, we can’t wait to see you again!”
The pandemic wasn’t the only delay for Brauhaus Schmitz’s return, which was actually set to hit the streets last month with Maifest, but that event had to be delayed again due to weather.
Now in full swing this weekend, while attending, guests can expect live oompah music from The Heimatklänge Band, cultural dance performances around the 40-foot Maypole by the United German Hungarian Dancers, face-painting, flower crown making and games for all ages. As the release states, the “Masskrugstemmen” or Liter Lift competition, will also take place for both men and women, and the winner will win a trip to NYC to compete in the National Championship. Plus there will be plenty of pretzels and brats to go around.
“You cannot go to a Biergarten without having a bratwurst, a pretzel and a bier while soaking up the sunshine,” said Chef Nash in a statement. “We will have plenty for everyone, so come hungry.”
Beer lovers will also find their new favorites here, as Hager says: “We are proud to offer such a unique list of German biers that are hard to find anywhere else. Come for the bier and stay for the party.”
For the general public, food and drink are available with pay-as-you-go tokens. Individual tokens can be purchased for $7 each, or, you could opt to buy 10 tokens for $60 which is good for use on food and beer throughout the day.
Brauhaus Schmitz also added a statement in light of recent events citing Sommerfest as “an opportunity for the community to come together and enjoy South Street in all its weirdness as it’s intended.” Additionally, Brauhaus added that its establishment still believes South Street is a safe place to enjoy all that the neighborhood has to offer. As they say, with over 400 businesses in the District, there are few if any other neighborhoods with such an eclectic array of choices, with the German eatery being high on that list.
Hager finished, “In 13 years on South Street, we’ve seen some things. But at the end of the day, it’s still a very safe area surrounded by four of the best neighborhoods in this city. The tragic events that recently occurred do not define our District and what we stand for. Events like our festivals are opportunities for the neighbors to come together as a community and celebrate all the good we have in the area. We missed everyone and can’t wait to come together once again.”
For information about Sommerfest, visit brauhausschmitz.com or follow on Instagram (@brauhausschmitz) or Facebook.com/brauhausschmitz