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From the archives since 1909 Sports play major role in Sauerkraut Days
August 10, 2017

Editor's note: Sauerkraut Days and competition have a long history, stretching back to the first Sauerkraut Day in 1909, when Lisbon's town baseball team downed both Morley and then Mechanicsville. Athletic events continue to this day with a softball tournament, 5K race, bathtub races and a pedal tractor pull.

There were a few times over the years the festival was revived, including once in 1961. The revival in 1981, however, brought with the event a lot of competitions, including a mud race, horseshoe tournament, waterball fights and tug of war.

Competitions continued through the years with events such as a cabbage roll, nail pounding contest, three-on-three basketball tournament and a cage metal wrestling tourney set up in Lisbon City Park.

The stories below come from early days of Sauerkraut Days. The first is from the front page of the 1909 Lisbon Herald about the first Sauerkraut Day on Oct. 7, 1909. The second, from the 25th anniversary of the festival, a rousing baseball game with Mechanicsville entertained the crowd, with the home team winning.

The town is planning a splendid day Oct. 7 - a day full of entertainment and interest. The display of fruits, flower, grains and vegetables promises well, as does also the exhibit of various styles of horses. The lecture by Miss Edith Charlton from Iowa Agriculture School at Ames should be heard by every woman, and men will find it entertaining. This is slated for 10 a.m. in the opera house and is free. Free Sauerkraut with wienerwurst trimming lunch from 11 to l o'clock. Double ball game promptly at one. Admission, men 25, ladies 15c for both games. Free street contests immediately after ball games. Free lunch again from 5 to 7. Band concert 6:30 to 8:30. Public dance 8:30 opera house. A merry-go-round will be located near the opera house and will be of interest to the younger people. A large crowd is anticipated and it is hoped all will come with the determination to have a good time. Arrange to meet old friends here. Any societies wishing accommodations in the way of a room to meet in will be furnished same free. The town wishes to please and entertain every visitor and if you find any thing lacking, speak to any loyal citizen and the want will be plied.

Lisbon Wins

Kraut Day Game From McVille 6 To 4

In one of the feature attractions of Lisbon's miniature world's fair, the local baseball team provided thrills, excitement and unusual plays for a large and noisy group of spectators, who had already been provided with kraut and wieners to win a close battle from Mechanicsville, 6 to 4.

Although Mr. Robert Ripley is still in at Chicago's big fair, I could name several "believe-it-or-not" incidents from the game. For example, Mechanicsville secured three solid base hits and a man hit with a pitched ball all in one inning, yet they failed to score.

This next one will get you. With two men away and two strikes on the batter, Lisbon successfully worked a squeeze play. There weren't any errors connected with it, but maybe lots of luck. Well, I could name several other similar facts, but as this paper will be filled up with a great amount of other Kraut Day bunk, maybe I should let it slide.

In the last half of the eighth inning, with the score tied at four each, Benesh singled, stole second, and went to third on an infield out. Young then walked with two away. Staab hit a hard grounder which pitcher Reed deflected to shortstop V. Miller.

Post then dropped Miller's low throw and Staab was safe at first and Benesh scored the run that put the sour in the opponent's kraut.

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