On any given summer weekend, Orton Park hosts a few dudes throwing a sporting projectile, several dogs, kids testing their imaginations on the playground, some B.Y.O. drinkers and a smoking grill or two. And on the occasion of Sunday's Alt-Bratfest, all of the above were abundant in the park, despite a healthy morning thunderstorm.
"It was perfect!" said fest organizer Jeanette Dunscombe of the less-than-ideal conditions. "Everybody just persevered, standing here with the rain pouring down."
At 2:30 pm, a few hours into the fest, the Orton grass was a little worse-for-wear, but the east-siders present simply rolled up their muddy cuffs and continued eating, chatting and dancing to the quirky covers emanating from Orton's gazebo, where Chick Singer Band held court.
According to Dunscombe, 600 tickets were sold to the event, with proceeds benefiting the Madison Skatepark Fund, REAP food group, La Follette's Health Occupations Students chapter and the Oliver Lang Fund at Shabazz school. She estimated the fest served over 1200 brats, which came from a handful of local pork producers and sausage makers.
The Alt-Bratfest was one of the first events that was planned to offer an alternative to the traditional World's Largest Brat Fest, held each Memorial Day weekend in Madison. With two other events cropping up on Saturday, the Alt-Bratfest differentiated itself as a choice for foodies, with it's artisan sausages and commitment to local ingredients.
Despite its political underpinnings owing to current events, Dunscombe predicted a return of the event next year.