VAIL — The Vail Valley has been partying like the Germans since Labor Day, with various Oktoberfest celebrations taking place. The Bavarian festival closes out this weekend, running today through Sunday in Vail Village.
The event brings a full weekend of authentic Oktoberfest fun, including the return of crowd favorites such as the bratwurst eating contests, keg bowling and stein lifting competitions.
Emulating the age-old celebration known all over the world, Vail Oktoberfest in the village will delight guests with Bavarian music and dancing, traditional fare like Klement’s bratwursts, yodeling, alpenhorn blowing, beverages from Hacker-Pschorr, Jagermeister and much more.
Things kick off today at 5:30 p.m. with live oom-pah music from Helmut Fricker and the Rhinelanders Band. Helmut and the band will be on hand throughout the weekend. Guests can also enjoy the Hacker-Pschorr keg tapping ceremony at 6 p.m., officially kicking off the weekend. In addition to the live music, guest can participate in Bavarian dancing demonstrations from the Denver Kickers Schuplattler Dancers, see traditional alpenhorn blowing, hear yodeling and much more.
On Saturday, the party goes into the night with a free concert from Bluzilla.
Keg bowling is back, giving anyone interested the chance to hurl a keg shell on wheels down the lane at a pyramid of keg shells with the intention of bringing down the pile. It’s not as easy at it seems, however. The top competitors from the first round of the competition move on to the final round, where the champion of the day will be crowned and prizes will be awarded. Participants must be at least 21 years old to compete.
The fun continues with the return of the Klement’s bratwurst eating contests, where the strong-willed and the strong-stomached battle it out to see who can down the most brats in three minutes. The winner receives a great prize package from Klement’s Sausage Company.
The Bavarian costume contests rewards festival participants who go all out with Oktoberfest-related wear. All attendees are invited to participate in the contests Saturday and Sunday. The winner will be determined by crowd response and will be awarded an Oktoberfest stein and token package.
The stein lift contests tests the stamina of even the fiercest competitors. Participants will hold full beer steins — one in each hand — out from their body at shoulder level. The last person standing takes home an Oktoberfest prize package. Participants in must be at least 21 years of age.
Oktoberfest is also a family affair. There will be fun activities for kids at the Bighorn Toyota Kids’ Zone.
Oktoberfest is from 5 to 10 p.m. today, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.