Vail Oktoberfest returns Friday
Official Oktoberfest opening ceremony takes place at 6 p.m.
Lift your ears up to the mountains: Do you hear the strains of oompah music floating in the breeze? It’s that time of year: Vail’s Oktoberfest kicks off with the first full weekend of celebration on Friday, Sept. 10 in Lionshead. This celebration of authentic Bavarian fun including the return of many crowd favorites like bratwurst eating contests, adult keg bowling, stein lifting competitions, costume contests, music, food, beer and more. Vail Oktoberfest opens to the public at noon on Friday, Sept. 10 with an oompah-style Friday Afternoon Club (FAC); the official opening ceremony takes place at 6 p.m.
“Munich Oktoberfest is my favorite event anywhere in the world!” said James Deighan, managing partner of Highline Sports & Entertainment. “I have been to the Munich event a half dozen times and there is truly nothing like it in the world. We have tried to emulate as much of the 200+ year-old event as possible, adding in our own Vail twists of course.”
Incorporating the festive elements so beloved in Munich to Vail, Oktoberfest in Lionshead immerses guests in time-honored revelry through music and dancing, yodeling, alpenhorn blowing, beverages from Spaten and much more.
“I run into people every day who tell me how incredibly excited they are that the events are back,” Deighan said. “We most certainly share in that excitement after being forced to take an 18-month hiatus from the event world.”
A little friendly competition
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What’s Oktoberfest without a little friendly competition? Whether it’s feats of strength or strength of stomach, we have you covered.
Those with hearty—and empty—stomachs should enter the Bratwurst Eating Contests to see who can scarf the most brats in three minutes. The competitor who consumes the most brats in the allotted time wins a prize package from Vail Oktoberfest including an official Oktoberfest stein and tokens.
The Stein Lifting Competitions will test the arm strength and stamina of even the fiercest competitors. Competitors hold a full 1L stein of Spaten beer out from their body at shoulder level and continue holding it until the last arm falls. The person still standing with arm outstretched will take home an Oktoberfest prize package. This contest takes place at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. Participants in the Stein Lifting Competitions must be at least 21 years of age.
Keg Bowling is also back, combining strength and style as participants hurl a keg shell on wheels down the lane at a pyramid of more keg shells, attempting to bring down the pile; it’s not as easy as it may seem. The top competitors from the first round of the competition move on the final round of Keg Bowling at 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday in which the champion of the day is crowned and prizes are awarded. Participants must be at least 21 years old to compete.
The Bavarian Costume Contests reward those festival participants who arrive in full Bavarian flare or in another Oktoberfest related costume. Festively dressed guests can participate in the Oktoberfest Costume Contests at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Guests of all ages are invited to participate. The winner will be determined by crowd response and will take home a Vail Oktoberfest stein and token package.
Though participating is fun, spectating is just as much (if not more) fun. Don’t miss the chance to cheer on competitors at these lively contests throughout the weekend. There is no cost to participate; competitors can sign up with Oktoberfest staff each day leading up to the contests.
Entertainment and Fun
Dust off your lederhosen, tie up your dirndls and grab your stein because the lineup of entertainment for Vail Oktoberfest in Lionshead is stellar. The weekend kicks off on Friday at noon for FAC, oom-pah style with music from The Average German Band and tunes from Helmut Fricker and the Rhinelanders Band. Helmut and the band will be on hand throughout the weekend with traditional Oktoberfest music that will get the crowd on their feet.
The Friday afternoon event will also honor all active and retired military with one complimentary beer as part of the Vail Oktoberfest Military Appreciation Program. Bring your military ID card to the Oktoberfest Dollar tent for your complimentary beer voucher on Friday, September 10 in Lionshead and Friday, September 17 in Vail Village. Vail Oktoberfest has been partnering with the Vail Veterans Program since 2014.
Guests are encouraged to join the Spaten Opening Ceremony at 6 p.m. on Friday, officially marking the start of Oktoberfest in Vail. The evening concert features the Johnny Schleper Band starting at 7:30 p.m.
The weekend continues with more live music, Bavarian dancing demonstrations, costume contests, adult keg bowling, stein liftin and more. On Saturday, the party goes into the night with a free concert from local classic rock cover band Rewind at 7:30 p.m.
Vail Oktoberfest is a family affair and the event also features fun activities during the day for kids. Children will find lots to love in the Bavarian Kinder Club with live entertainment, crafts, pretzel necklace making and more. The Kinder Club is open on Saturday and Sunday from noon – 5 p.m.
For more information about Vail Oktoberfest and to see a full schedule of events for the Oktoberfest in Lionshead as well as the schedule of events for Oktoberfest in Vail Village Sept. 17-19, visit oktoberfestvail.com.