Posted: 7/8/2006


  Every summer, in villages small and large is an unique event that I love. A special 2 night event organized by the local volunteer fire department, the FEUERWERK beer fest.
It raises money for them and provides local entertainment.
I have only 150 meters to walk from GASTHOF HOEHENSTEIGER to the one in Westerdorf St Peter. next to a corn field, for there are many local farms.
      MAS BIER  Euro 4.80 says the sign, and if you arrive before 8.00pm you save the Euro 3.00 entrance fee. They have a large tent with seats and long tables for perhaps 1,000 and the volunteer firefighters and wives in their T shirts with SPQR ( Westerdorf was a former Roman encampement) serve beers, soft drinks for kids and cook grilled fish, ham, wurst, roast potatos etc.
  The Rock and Roll band SONIC starts playing early and half way thru my first MAS (about 2 1/2 pints) Georg cycles up to look for me. What's the matter, I wonder. Has the racing donkey Tissilo Der Schell had an accident? No, its just that a former player MICHAEL LINENBERGER(men's coach at Cal State Sacramento), has showed up with his entourage for dinner at the Gasthof. Wife, son and daughter and parents in law. We just missed each other in Hamburg and they have driven from nearby Chiemsee and are going Saturday to Stuttgart for GER-POR 3rd place match. This match has the cheapest tickets in all WC matches. Oliver Kahn will play, but Ballack is out.
Young Matthew - 15 1/2 (the drinking age here is 16) is ALMOST ready for prime time and he orders food in good German: They wanted to come to Germany earlier but Matthew was in State Cup and might have made the regionals.
     Michael was as elegant a player as they come,and loads of fun post matches,  and we had some great tours together, to Mexico, Britain and German and Scandinavia.
Anyway, they got the quick tour from me and and then left, and I returned to the festivities.
SONIC was in full swing, 4 guys and 2 gals.  The tempo rises. We drink and dance under the stage, then on the benches and finally the tables.
     Also group circular dances, arms over each others shoulders-just as I remember on a Kibbutz many years ago on the shores of the Mediterranean south of Haifa.
Supposed to be a limit of 1,000 but at least 500 more. Where is the fire Marshall?- carrying 10 MAS BIERS in two hands to thirsty customers. Dru and his newly arrived girl friend are just about able to stand up, Aaron is checking out all the ladies of interest, one by one, and is a real charmer.
Under 18's have a red wrist band and are supposed to leave at midnight, but at 1.30 a.m the room is still rocking and the dancing is more frantic.
  It finally slows down and a refreshing respite from the World Cup, but Saturday night will be the same, plus GER-POR on a large screen.
There is a 30 minute program on CNN about Sepp Blatter, from his hometown of VISP, in Southern Switzerland, near the Italian border, to the halls of FIFA, and in Berlin, where we head on Sunday.  South Africa unveils its World Cup 20010 logo in Berlin for the first time.
  There are no local buses in South Africa, they all got robbed or burned, and when I was there I had the options of taxis or the local VW buses, privately owned and everywhere.
I was the only white guy on them every time, and people thought I was crazy and careless.
They are going to have to have other options for the large contingents of supporters, and there are lots of major tasks ahead. I wish them luck, and hope that some of the locals will be able to afford tickets.