Glier’s Goettafest is expanding its festivities at Newport’s Festival Park on the Levee to two weekends (July 25-28 and Aug. 1-4) for the first time since the annual celebration began 18 years ago.
Goetta, next to Cincinnati-style chili, is our city’s most popular regional dish. And chances are high that you’ve been ordering Glier’s brand goetta from local restaurants; the Covington-based company claims to sell the most goetta in the world and has played a large role in maintaining goetta’s popularity since the sausage kitchen and smokehouse opened more than 70 years ago.
Not necessarily an outright invention that the Cincinnati area can claim, goetta is a continuation of the German Grützwurst tradition, a practical solution for feeding more people with less by essentially cutting sausage meat with starches. Goetta is a combination of pork and beef, whole-grain oats, onion and spices. The dish was made to stretch out cuts of meat with cheap, readily available ingredients, not unlike meatloaf, scrapple, livermush or haggis.
“The uniqueness about goetta is the oats,” says Kerry Schall, Glier’s director of marketing and special events coordinator. “When you cook the oats, they brown up and give it that unique texture and flavor that really makes it different than anything else.”
Schall has been in charge of Glier’s Goettafest for the past decade, doing everything from scheduling the live music to assisting food vendors in creating goetta-themed menus. As a vendor at Goettafest, you have to create an entirely unique menu; you cannot repeat what anybody else is making. That means the food variety at the festival is incredibly diverse, despite the unifying inclusion of goetta. Deep-fried goetta balls are some of the most popular items, but Schall suggests you find the grilled-goetta donut sandwich, comprised of a goetta patty, bacon and cheese sandwiched between two glazed donuts, offered by Busken Bakery.
“It’s interesting to look at, but it’s an amazing sandwich,” he says.
This will be the first year the fest spans eight days; in the past, it’s only been four. The only recurring complaints Schall has received about Goettafest are it is always too busy and people with strollers or wheelchairs can’t easily navigate the crowd, so the solution was to stretch the party out longer with the hope that attendance won’t be so heavily concentrated.
Attractions at Goettafest include two live music stages, a carnival-style dunk tank, face painting, speed pitch and more goetta than you could ever eat. There’s also a novelty refrigerated goetta vending machine on-site in case you want to take goetta home.
Schall and his team have also been hard at work on an updated game tent with a giant game of Mr. Goetta Operation (you have to remove pork, beef, onions and oats from his body with giant tweezers) and a Mr. Goetta toss.
“I’ve never seen anything like our product that touches people’s emotions the way it does,” Schall says. “People will come up and tell us about the first time they had goetta, how their grandma used to make them goetta as a kid and every time they have it, they think of their grandma. There’s so much emotion tied to this, it’s neat to see.
“Dan Glier, our owner, he’s at Goettafest the whole time and he walks through and gives people stickers and I think the family feel that you get from this event is different than anything else around. We’re all involved, we’re all proud of what we do and of the product we serve, so we take the time to make sure this is a neat experience for everybody.”
Now that the fest will span twice as long, there’s double the chance to enjoy one of Cincinnati’s culinary traditions. Schall says Goettafest is even a great excuse to travel back to the Queen City.
“We get a lot of people that are transplants from Cincinnati that went to Florida and they’ll schedule their vacation time to come back for the festival,” he says. “It’s a time to come out and try some new things and try some old things that you love, spend some time with family. It really is a great family experience, just a good time.”
Here is the current menu list from goettafest.com:Zoomer Inc.
- Goetta Mountain
- Goetta Cheddar Cheese
- Goetta Burrito
- Deep Fried PB&J
- Funnel Cake
- Goetta B.B.Q Sandwich
- Slab Goetta, Philly, Reuben, Melt
- Deep Fried Goetta Balls
- Limburger & Onion
- Fresh Baked Strudel
- Gliers Sausages
The Cincinnati Grill
- Goetta Buffalo Wrap
- Goetta Hoagie
- Goetta Steak & Egg Sandwich
- Goetta Loaded Potato Pancakes
- Sauerkraut Balls
Yat Ka Mein
- Goetta Moo Shu Taco
- Goetta Rangoon
- Goetta Spring Rolls
- Goetta Fried Rice
- Sesame Chicken with Goetta Fried Rice
- Veggie Lo Mein
- Ice Cream (Add Sprinkles/Crumbled Goetta)
Food Service and Solutions
- Grilled Donut Sandwich with Maple Syrup
- Goetta Brownies
- Goetta Empanadas
- Giant Cream Puff
- Black Forrest Cake
- Goetta Burrito
- Capris salad
Original Corn Roast
- Flame Roasted Goetta Stuffed Potato Skins
- Roasted Corn
- Goetta Mac
- Goetta Bites-on-Stick
- Goetta Stuffed Cheese Fries
- Chicken Tenderloin Basket
Beckhart German American Cuisine
- Cheesy Goetta Crisps
- Goetta Bier Cheese Slammers
- Loaded Tater Tots
- Goetta Super Pretzel Weenie
- Terminator Sausage/Pretzel Bun
- Pork Rinds
- Soft Pretzel and Bier Cheese
- Goetta Bites Chili Cheese Steak Fries
- Goetta Cheese Coney
- Deep Fried Goetta Cheese Coney
- Chunky ‘Nati Chili
- Goetta Chili Cheese Chilito
- Jumbo Cincinnati Cheese Coney
- Deep Fried Cheese Coney
- Goetta Omelette
- Goetta Burger
- Goetta Kabob
- Filet Mignon Sandwich
- Chicken Breast Sandwich
- Goetta Big Mac
- Bacon-Wrapped Goetta Bites
- Goetta Nachos
Glier’s Goettafest takes place at Newport’s Festival Park on the Levee July 25-28 and Aug. 1-4. Admission is free. More info: goettafest.com.