The Phelps Sauerkraut Festival began in 1967 with a one-day program (The Home of Silver Floss Sauerkraut). The Phelps Chamber of Commerce started the Sauerkraut Festival because Phelps was one of the largest producers of sauerkraut in the world. Eventually, a committee made up of members from the community and community organizations took over the various aspects of this festival with the support of theSilver Floss Sauerkraut Company (now Great Lakes Kraut Company – a part of Agrilink, Inc.) and Birds Eye Foods.
Sauerkraut Factories within the Village of Phelps:
The Seneca Sauerkraut Factory, located at the West end of Main Street, was sold to Seneca Foods, Waterloo, NY and the building was demolished in December of 1994. The Silver Floss/Empire State Pickling Company, located on Eagle Street, Phelps, NY, was sold to Curtis-Burns Inc of Rochester on September 1, 1965. It was then sold to Comstock Foods. Canning ended in 1985, but cutting continued in Phelps and eventually went to Shortsville and Gorham.
Even though Phelps no longer has any working sauerkraut factories, we continue to have this festival in conjunction with the Phelps American Legion (Auxiliary Unit 457) and the Phelps Fire Department. It is now a three-day event; held the first full weekend in August. Thursday night is “Kiddie Night”. Friday night is Kraut Idol and live music under the tent. Saturday events begin with a 20K race, arts and crafts show, midway rides, kids safety events, Sauerkraut Festival Parade (one of the largest in the area), music, cutting of the famous sauerkraut cake by the Festival Prince and Princess and their court, community vendors, live music under the tent, and fireworks.