Get your bologna sandwiches ready. The 49th annual World Championship Dainty Contest is set for the streets of Schnitzelburg on Monday, July 29.
The annual contest and street celebration, held each year at the intersection of Goss and Hoertz avenues, is a neighborhood tradition centered around an old-school children’s game with German roots.
Schnitzelburg resident George Hauck remembered playing the game as a child and created the annual contest as a way to keep it alive. Hauck, who recently turned 99, was the longtime owner of Hauck’s Handy Store, which since has closed and is being renovated by Mulloy Commercial Real Estate.
Most Louisvillians are familiar with how the game works — contestants start with a wooden peg that comes to a point on either end, hitting it as it lies on the ground with a larger stick to make it fly into the air. When it’s in the air, the contestant then hits it again, much like a batter in baseball. Whoever hits their peg farthest while staying in-bounds wins the contest.
Like in baseball, players get three “strikes” before they are out, with each contact of the bat with the Dainty constituting a strike. The winner gets a trophy and a prize, while the person who hits the dainty the shortest distance will receive a basket of lemons, per tradition.
Players must be at least 45 years old in order to enter, which may seem random. According to Ron Bolton, president of the Schnitzelburg Area Community Council, however, the age limit was Hauck’s idea when he created the contest decades ago.
“George Hauck set it so he wouldn’t be there all night while people played,” Bolton tells Insider. “He also has a good laugh every time someone says, ‘I can’t wait to be 45 to play!’ To which everyone responds, ‘Why would you want to be older?’ I was sitting outside Check’s when a 20-something first told me he wanted to be 45. I believe George was 50 when he started the Dainty, so he made sure he qualified.”
Bolton says the number of contestants has steadily increased after it broke 100 eight years ago. His best guess is that between 150 and 175 will sign up to compete this year.
Open competition begins at 5:30 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Local politicians take their swings starting at 5, while opening ceremonies begin at 4:30 p.m. Proceeds from the event go to Little Sisters of the Poor.
Atrium Brewing’s food truck will be on hand to sell the traditional Dainty meal, which consists of a bologna sandwich, side and a drink, while the Louisville Dessert truck will be there to serve those with a sweet tooth.
All Wool & Yard Wide Democratic Club will sell “cheap” beer, with craft beer provided by Schnitzelburg brewery Monnik Beer Co., including the signature Hauck’s Pilsner, which was named for Hauck and his store.
In addition, during the weekend leading up to the contest, Mile Wide Beer Co. will be unveiling its Dainty Pils, a pilsner beer that pays homage to the annual Dainty Contest.
As part of a partnership with the Schnitzelburg Area Community Council, through Sunday at Mile Wide, $1 from every pint of Dainty Pils sold will be donated to the council. In addition, $1 for every four-pack of Dainty Pils sold at the Mile Wide taproom also will be donated.
Interestingly, Dainty Pils actually was conceived about three years ago by Mile Wide brewer Kyle Tavares, mostly because he loves the Dainty Contest and lives in the neighborhood.
“He loved the idea of the Dainty Pils,” says Mile Wide Co-Owner Scott Shreffler. “He just liked the combination.”
Originally, Tavares’ idea was to release T-shirts along with the beer that said, “I’m a Dainty Man.”
“The shirts aren’t happening,” Shreffler says, “but the beer is.”
Mile Wide Beer Co. is located at 636 Barret Ave.