“Tradition, comradery, friendship and relatives” keep the Verboort Sausage & Sauerkraut Festival thriving after 82 years in the small Dutch community in Verboort, Oregon as described by Lois Verboort. The community of 500 works diligently under Giant Sequoia redwood trees to produce a festival attracting a sausage loving crowd of 10,000. Preparation for the sausage festival takes months. The sauerkraut alone takes six weeks to ferment in fifty gallon buckets. Longtime resident, Albert Vanderzanden marvels at the simple recipe “Its cabbage and salt!” he exclaims.Nearly all of the food served at the Verboort Dinner is local and handmade. Apples are plucked from nearby orchards and turned into applesauce. Sausage is ground and smoked on the parish grounds with a family recipe passed down through the generations, much pride is taken from the renowned original recipe.
This tradition bonds the community together. Sr. Clare Vandecovering explains, “The children get so excited…that they get to have a part… everyone is very proud that they get a part.” She fondly remembers simpler times from days past and counts herself lucky to have been able to participate in both eras. More than just sausage, guests come to participate or volunteer for the event due to the friendly and welcoming lifestyle of those who reside in Verboort.Across the street from church grounds, a herd of cows chomp on lush green grass and pleasantly moo under the unscathed sky. With many local farms surrounding, teamwork and a neighbor’s helping hand is often needed for a projects’ completion. This friendly attitude from neighbors has helped mold the open and hardworking community that has become present day Verboort.
The number of farms has severely decreased in the past one hundred years but the attitude and spirit has remained.The Catholic elementary school is at the heart of Verboort andmost of the event proceeds support the operations of the school. Passionate parishioners of the church work diligently to ensure the stability of both operations and core values of the school.It takes not only family, but the whole community who must ensure the future generations of Verboort. Sausage is not at the root of what makes this community, but it does allow the community an annual celebration of heritage. Longtime resident, Florence Crop notes that “If you are happy where you are, it is home” and she can’t think of any other place that she would rather live than under the Giant Sequoia redwood trees.