Monday, January 18, 2010
Traipefest 2010 Jan. 25
It is a yearly gathering that is produced through the collaboration and hard work of an intergenerational group -- families and friends of different professions, ages, and national backgrounds, most from Rollingstone, Oak Ridge, Altura, Lewiston, Minneiska and Winona; a few from St. Paul, La Crosse and the Milwaukee area. Many of those who plan the event and prepare the food are descendents of immigrants from Luxembourg, where traipen (a type of blood sausage) has been made for centuries.
Cooking and then sharing a hearty winter meal has been part of the history of many Winona County immigrant groups. However, the making of Luxembourger traipen is a remarkably long-standing tradition. The custom arrived in Winona County in the mid 1800s with the first settlers from the Grand Duchy.
The celebration of traipen at a yearly public Festival also has had a long history. “Fests” have been organized in Winona County for more than a century, with interruptions during the World Wars. Around the turn of the last century, Winona’s Luxembourg Society organized a “Treipen” evening. Many from Rollingstone and other towns attended. In the 1920s, Rollingstone began to advertise its own “Tripefeste.” However, these Festivals came to a halt during World War II, and were not resumed for more than a generation. In 1988, a group of Rollingstone area citizens decided to re-constitute their local Luxembourg Society, establish a Sister City agreement with Bertrange, Luxembourg, open the Luxembourg Heritage Museum, and reinvigorate the tradition of winter “Treipenfest.” Thus, while this year’s gathering is being advertised as the “twenty-second annual,” its history is much older than that.
The completion of the traipen-making was cause for celebration. With the pantry filled with meat, the family could relax and enjoy a large meal that featured home-grown potatoes, vegetables, breads, desserts, and, of course, the traipen. It was always seasoned according to a secret family formula, using “Bounekraitchen,” a type of summer savory still grown in the gardens of many Rollingstone residents.
The Fest sometimes also featured a dance -- all of this merriment tied to the celebration of “Fusicht,” the traditional Luxembourger “Carnival.” These festive events had to be completed before the beginning of Lent, a more somber season filled with prayer, much simpler meals, abstinence from drinking and meat, and occasional fasting.
The 2010 Traipefest will be held on Monday, January 25th, at Ginny’s Supper Club, 401 Rolling View Drive, Rollingstone, with servings at 5 pm and 7 pm—and door prizes. Seating is limited, so all are urged to order tickets without delay. For reservations, call Dorothy Stoos at (507) 689-2139 or Ginny Lehnertz at (507) 689-2111. Take-outs are available.