Organizers pleased with results of Wurstfest

After nearly getting rained out while they were setting up, members of Boulder City Sunrise Rotary Club welcomed the sun Saturday morning for what they are calling another successful Wurstfest.

“I thought it was a great venue. Everything went really well considering the weather inclemency the night before,” club President Harold Begley said, adding he was completely soaked from Friday night’s rain and hail while they unloaded soft drinks and auction items.

Although exact numbers for how much money was raised won’t be available until all costs are accounted for, Lee Hagen, who coordinated the 18th annual Wurstfest for the club, said she believes this was the club’s second most successful Wurstfest.

She said food sales improved and the live and silent auctions brought in more money, including the festival’s top bid of $16,000 for a 1929 Model A pickup.

Hagen said the cooler temperatures may have accounted for a decrease in beer sales, but she doesn’t believe that will affect the overall amount of money raised by the club.

Typically, proceeds from the Wurstfest hover around $50,000, with $35,000 used to pay for the all-expense-paid, alcohol-free and drug-free graduation celebration for Boulder City High School seniors.

The remainder is donated to myriad organizations throughout town.

“We like to give back to the community. We’re all about that,” said Hagen, who also coordinated the 2013 event and volunteered to head up next year’s festival. “I love doing this. I absolutely love it. The best part of all is that we follow through with Rotary’s motto: Service above self.”

This year’s festival saw a few changes from previous incarnations, including staggered closing times for the silent auction and a single food service line and price that included a beverage, bag of chips and bratwurst, Italian sausage or hot dog.

“Every year we try to make improvements and this year we improved the process for serving food, making it much more smooth, and the silent auction,” Hagen said, noting the number of items available for purchase doubled.

Changes to the auction, which was housed in a larger tent, were made to speed up the checkout process.

“It was a big change and we thought long and hard about it because we wanted to make sure we weren’t upsetting the consumers, the people coming. But it was important for us to have everything flow as smooth as possible,” she said.

Begley echoed her sentiments.

“I’m always a little worried when we try too many new things at once,” Begley said.

However, it didn’t take long to allay his fears as the changes seemed to be well-received.

According to Begley, the staggered auction times made it much easier to process winning bids, eliminating the “mad rush of people checking out at 3 p.m.”

Hagen also said she heard favorable comments about the changes to the auction process and food serving lines.

The only complaint Begley said he heard was from an older gentleman who was perturbed that he had to show identification proving he was old enough to drink.

Boulder City resident and club member Darlene Burk, who attended the event strictly as a spectator this year, said she thought it was a great event.

“The people all around me were positive,” she said.

Work on the 2015 Wurstfest begins next week when committee members gather to discuss the high and low points of Saturday’s event.

“So many people take part in it and take pride in their areas,” Hagen said. They are always looking to improve.”

She credited members Kendra Wright and Brad McKinley for implementing changes to the auction and food service, respectively.

Hagen said all of the club’s 60 members are involved in the event in one way or another.

She added the event wouldn’t be the success is was if it were not for the support of the community, local businesses and the Rotary Club of Boulder City. She also expressed her gratitude to the basketball team from Boulder City High School, along with parents and coaches, and the Interact club, who volunteered throughout the day.

“I want to thank and congratulate all Rotary club members and the community for their support. This is the community investing in the community,” Begley said.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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