by Joe Castilleja, 2015 Chair of the Board

Well, it’s that time of year when NBU starts dawning the lights to downtown and the city and citizens of New Braunfels prepare for our community events and holidays. November marks the beginning of this festive season as we start with Wurstfest, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving.

Wurstfest is more than just a salute to sausage; it is the celebration of our culture and heritage. Wurstfest has established itself as a world-wide event that fills our town with many visitors. The festival’s Opas have long since given of their time and efforts to make Wurstfest what it is today. Our city, citizens and civic organizations all come together and promote our heritage to the many visitors. It is the pride of our people and the shining crown of our community. This year’s president is sixth generation New Braunfelser Stephen Hanz and the Grosse Opa is Bob Goebel (the Unofficial Mayor of Solms).

Veterans Day has always been an honored holiday here in New Braunfels. Our downtown is detailed with Old Glory down the streets of San Antonio and Seguin, as well as around our beautiful Plaza. We have a strong association with our military, given our relationship and proximity to San Antonio and its military bases. In fact, our Chamber has a Military Affairs Committee that has been active since 1968. They honor a Randolph AFB airman every quarter and an airman of the year. As Chair of the Board, I have the privilege of presenting them with the “City of a Prince Decree”. We will always be forever indebted to those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom like Lance CPL Brandon T. Lara, Lance CPL John Farias, and Sergeant Thomas Spitzer.

As I have matured, I found that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It originated in 1621 with the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians, but it wasn’t until 1863 that it was proclaimed as a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln. Not only is this a time for family and friends to gather to watch football and break bread, but a time to reflect on our many blessings and the many more yet to come. We also find the time to serve those less fortunate. For example, The Gruene United Methodist Church’s B.B.Q. ministry does a turkey tailgate, which prepares and delivers smoked turkeys with all the trimmings to families that would otherwise not have a traditional turkey dinner. It is the people of this community with their caring and giving hearts that make New Braunfels a place like no other.

Before Santa rides his sled to town, we have many traditions of tidings to prepare for and participate in like Weihnachtsmarkt, the Downtown Tree Lighting, Small Business Saturday, Wassailfest, Holiday Wine Trail, Caroling on the Plaza, Madeline Memorial 5K Christmas Stroll, Holidays in Gruene and Christmas at the Caverns. It is the spirit of this community and the many volunteers that make these events, whether local or national, unique to the charm of our town. Prosit and Happy Holidays New Braunfels.

Joe Castilleja
Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
Chair of the Board