By Philip Jankowski
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE - Anyone driving through Copperas Cove Saturday probably noticed the smell of more than 1,000 pounds of German sausage sizzling.
The smell emanated from Trinity Lutheran Church, where about 1,500 plates of sausage, sauerkraut, green beans and potatoes were served during the annual German Sausagefest.
The more than 40-year-old event aimed to sell 3,500 pounds of sausage total. Hundreds ate and listened to German music inside a large red and white tent while others purchased raw sausage from Waco in bulk.
Like the Lutheran religion, which traces its roots back to the German monk Martin Luther, the sausage recipe employed by church member Gordon Mickan was straight from the old country.
Mickan oversaw four barbecue smokers, but a true German sausage is boiled, he said. Mickan's great-great-grandfather brought the recipe over from the Wendish region of Germany when he arrived in Galveston in the 1850s.
The recipe was passed down to his grandfather, Alfred, who oversaw the first years of Trinity Lutheran's German Sausagefest in the early 1970s, Mickan said.
"We couldn't do this without the support of the community," Mickan said.
Pastor Bernard J. Schey said all proceeds from food sold at the event benefit the Lutheran Laymen's League and the Lutheran Women's Missionary League. Both are national organizations that provide charity work across the nation.
The Copperas Cove chapters have raised money for the Cove House, Killeen Soup Kitchen and recently provided aid to Bastrop during the devastating wildfires, Mickan said.
Copperas Cove has a history of a large German influence. Schey said he still gives two services a year in German.
Texas has a large German influence already, with more than 10 percent of residents tracing their roots back to the country, according to U.S. census figures. In Copperas Cove in particular, the culture is even more pervasive.
Schey said many German women married U.S. soldiers. They came to the region after World War II and helped bolster the Lutheran Church.
With that in mind, Mickan said he works to make the meat at Sausagefest authentically German. All sausage must be 100 percent pork. One year his family only smoked the sausage, which caused several complaints. They now make sure a generous portion is boiled.
Dewitt Wyatt said he has attended the event for the past eight years. This year, he helped by cleaning the large pots used to boil sausage. Wyatt said the event is one way for neighbors to get out and see each other.
"You see them all talking and some of them only see each other once, twice a year. It's camaraderie, fellowship and good eats," he said.