Madison hosted 59 hours of brat festival this Memorial Day weekend, at three different celebrations around the city. Each offered variations on the same themes: bratwurst, beer, live music, and community support for local charities.
Two shared a progressive tinge, reflecting their origins last year in the Walker protest movement. These modest alternative venues highlighted bratwursts and other treats from smaller Wisconsin-based suppliers. On Saturday, the People's Bratfest on UW Library Mall focused on politics and catered to families with its performers. Wurst Times filled four stages at the High Noon Saloon and Brink Lounge all day Sunday with a variety of music.
At its home on Willow Island, World's Largest Brat Fest fell nearly 60,000 brats short of its record set in 2010. Marking its 30th anniversary, this festival served a total of 151,216 brats over four days, from Friday morning through an early close Monday evening, amidst over 100 live music sets and a carnival.
The story that follows highlights observations and photos from all three festivals.