Gypsum raises steins to celebrate Oktoberfest Saturday |

Gypsum raises steins to celebrate Oktoberfest Saturday

Cindy Ramunno

Gypsum will celebrate the official start of the fall season this Saturday, Sept. 27 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Lundgen Theater Park with the return of Oktoberfest.

Before hoisting some brews and downing some brats, participants may want to throw on some running shoes and to take part in the half marathon or 5K planned as part of the festivities.

It’s said that Oktoberfest festivities around the world have slowly moved into September so that participants can enjoy the warmer weather. People are now accustomed to theses being held earlier in the fall. Traditionally, Oktoberfest starts the third weekend in September and ends the first Sunday of October, but Gypsum isn’t Germany.

Historic Roots

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According to, Oktoberfest began with a royal wedding. Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on Oct. 12, 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. The fields were renamed Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s Fields”) to honor the Crown Princess, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to “Wiesn.” Horse races in the presence of the royal family marked the close of the event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria. The decision to repeat the horse races in subsequent years gave rise to the tradition of Oktoberfest.

Alcohol consumption is an important part of the modern festival, and more than one million gallons of beer are consumed annually at the Oktoberfest in Germany.

Today, the Oktoberfest in Munich is the largest festival in the world, with an international flavor characteristic of the 20th Century. At the foot of the Bavaria Statue, adjacent to the huge Oktoberfest grounds there are also carousels, roller coasters and spectacular fun for the enjoyment and excitement of visitors of all ages. The festivities are accompanied by a program of events, including the Grand Entry of the Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries, the Costume and Riflemen’s Procession, and a concert involving all the brass bands represented in the “Wiesn.” Only wars and cholera epidemics have briefly interrupted the yearly beer celebration.

The 16-day party in Germany attracts over six million people each year, and along with all that beer, lots of pork sausage and spit-roasted chickens are consumed during the extravaganza. Visitors attend from all over the world, and it’s one of Munich’s largest and most profitable tourist attractions. It brings over 450 million euros to the city’s coffers each year.

In the United States, the largest Oktoberfest is held in Cincinnati, Ohio, which boasts half a million visitors each year. The folk festival has given its name to similar festivals worldwide that are at least in part modeled after the original Bavarian Oktoberfest.

Gypsum festivities

Get ready for that same type of festive afternoon in Gypsum. Live music, Bonfire Brewing, a half marathon and 5K runs and traditional German cuisine are all planned.

From 1 to 5:30 p.m., the Swiss Austrian Connection Games are planned. As for music, expect popular and folk music, marches, and polkas. Also expect some bluegrass.

“The half marathon starts at 8 a.m. and the 5K follows at 9 a.m.,” said Anna Englehart, of Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District. Cost is $20 for the 5K and $35 for the half marathon and runners can register on line at

F ood will be served around noon and games and contests will be held throughout the afternoon during music breaks. One contest will involve Alp Horn blowing for adults and kids. The entire event is sponsored by the town of Gypsum and its chamber of commerce.

Gyptoberfest Beer from Bonfire Brewery will be available, which will help wash down the brats, sauerkraut and German potato salad. There will also be traditional desserts and pastries.

Festivities will conclude around 6 p.m. There is no cost for admission – just the price of food and beer.

“This is an awesome, fun, free event and everyone is welcome,” said Englehart. “We want people to come out and enjoy the great food, beer, and music in a nice small-town, laid-back atmosphere.”

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