BLEND rides Wheels to Wurstfest
If you’ve ever been to Wurstfest in New Braunfels from November 2nd to the 11th, you know that it’s one of the most anticipated events of the year (at least it is for the BLEND staff). It’s a festival where you show up, drink a bunch of beer, buy some delicious German food and maybe get a funny hat or two. Austinities head to the festival every year but the one thing that has always been an issue is getting there and back.
By Kaylin Balderrama
Photos by Alec Marshman
New Braunfels is an hour away so an uber is way too expensive and taking a party bus is fun until you are clinging to a stripper pole for the entire trip because there’s no more seats…so how do you get up there? BLEND figured out the perfect solution and that’s taking “Wheels to Wurstfest”. Austin Tour Company owner Nicole Jensen came up with the best idea ever; to take a charter bus to the festival. Every passenger gets a seat, there’s a bathroom and the bus is heated/air conditioned. When the program first started in 2014 the company bused 38 people to the festival and this year they took 2,534. For $45 you can secure a ride to and from the festival as well as your ticket to get in. Let’s just say…that’s worth it.
BLEND had a chance to sit down with Nicole Jensen and get some more information on the bus before some of our staff had the opportunity to hop on one of the buses and test it out for ourselves.
BLEND: When did Wheels to Wurstfest start?
Nicole: I moved to Austin in 2009 and my background in is large-scale event planning and hospitality. I moved here from New, York and I was didn’t really realize that drunk-driving was a thing because in New York there was always a subway or taxi but here there wasn’t an uber option yet or anything. My first Wurstfest was about nine years ago and my boyfriend at the time and I went up there and you know...promptly got drunk and then we were like how do we get home? So the next year I rented a party bus and took a bunch of my friends up there which was way better, but then everyone had to go to the bathroom on the way home from the festival. So finally the next year I rented a nicer bus that was air-conditioned and had a bathroom and just like that “Wheels to Wurstfest” was kind-of born. I just saw a need when it came to getting people up there because an uber isn’t really feasible. “Wheels to Wurstfest” has become one of our biggest campaigns of the year as were taking almost 3,000 people up to the festival this year.
BLEND: Tell me about the Austin Tour Company
Nicole: Four years ago I started “Austin Tour Company” and I started doing things that I honestly was already doing for my friends and I. River-floating was always something I would do with my friends and so from March to October we do transportation from Austin to San Marcos seven days a week so people can go float. One business model that I wanted to shape Austin Tour Company around was the idea that when you rent a party bus a lot of times you’ll have friends bail or end up not making it so I wanted to do something where you can just send your friends a link of the bus you’re going on and everyone buys their own ticket so you’re not stuck paying for the bus by yourself. We also have some of those big boats that are out on Town Lake so we do bat cruises, brunches and holiday parties on those. We try to partner with local companies and help them get business as well like Capital Cruises on Town Lake. I approached them a few years ago and was like whenever you guys aren’t busy we should figure something out so I can help shuttle people to the boats. So we now do Adult Cruises on their boats where we have a DJ and an open bar. We try to make it an all-inclusive adult party cruise.
BLEND: What can someone expect riding a bus to Wurstfest with you guys?
Nicole: We always do a fun pickup area so this year partnered with Revelry which is a really fun bar. There will be a $10 beer and pretzel special on site. When people get on the bus they can BYOB and the movie Beer Fest is normally played on the bus and then people just hang out with their friends. All of our buses are luxury motor coaches so everyone will have a seat and there is a bathroom on the bus, which is key after drinking all that beer at Wurstfest.
BLEND had the opportunity to check out “Wheels to Wurstfest” and see what all the buzz was about. Let me just say, I’ve been to Wurstfest before and I will be using “Wheels to Wurstfest” from now on. We met at Revelry Bar on East Sixth and got on the bus. The bus was BYOB and we played games and watched “Beer Land” on the way up there. Our guide was amazing and very helpful in making sure we got on and off the bus at the right time. Here are some pictures from the event:
For more information on all the fun events Austin Tour Company does check out their website here.