‘Holding onto summer’ at Oktoberfest | VailDaily.com

‘Holding onto summer’ at Oktoberfest

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
NWS BC Oktoberfest KA 9-3-11

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado – September is here, bringing with it three party-filled Oktoberfest weekends in Beaver Creek and Vail and also bringing the realization that summer is just about over.

Ski-town residents know these party-filled weekends mean winter is just around the corner. For some, the news is great, and for others, it’s bittersweet.

Beaver Creek Village was packed Saturday afternoon, as local residents and visitors cruised around drinking beer and eating bratwursts to the sounds of Bavarian music. The sun was shining, and the weather was warm – it hardly felt like the tail end of the summer season.

For Eric McCue, who works at Foxnut in Beaver Creek, Oktoberfest weekend in Beaver Creek signifies the beginning of “relaxation season.”

After a nice, busy summer, it’s time to close for lunch and get some bike riding in, he said.

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“The excitement starts to build in the air when you come into the fall and you know the (ski) season’s coming. The mornings start getting crisp, and you start seeing your breath, and you start realizing what’s right around the corner,” McCue said. “Summer goes fast, and before you know it, it’s fall, and then you’re trucking back into the winter.”

That’s what Oktoberfest is all about, said Helmut Fricker, the man who helped start the celebration in Vail in 1972 and who performs live Bavarian music at the festivals each year.

“It’s like an end-of-the-summer fest,” Fricker said. “It’s the prime time for me for many, many years. It’s my time to celebrate beer, brats and sauerkraut.”

What started out 200 years ago during the wedding of the princess of Bavaria has evolved into a worldwide celebration. Fricker said there are now 6 million people who attend Oktoberfest in Munich over the course of 10 days.

“Wherever you go, it’s all over the world,” Fricker said.

And in Beaver Creek and Vail, it’s truly a moment of transition and celebration.

Vail Valley Partnership Executive Director Chris Romer was cruising through Beaver Creek Village on Saturday and said the next three weeks, starting with Beaver Creek’s Oktoberfest this weekend, signify that transition from summer to fall.

It’s nice to see so many people in town for the events, too, especially because September used to be a time that was really more a part of the offseason.

“It extends (the season) and gives people a reason to come up here on the weekends, even when their kids are back in school,” Romer said.

Ti Diaz, a TV 8 co-host, calls the next few weekends of parties the “big finish.”

But it’s not really a finish, he said, it’s just the beginning of something else.

For Bill Holm, of Edwards, the jam-packed events calendar in Vail and Beaver Creek throughout the summer has made him want to stick around more. He used to want to go down to his place in Denver for events down there in the summer, but he’s finding himself staying in the mountains more lately.

“The opportunity we have up here for things to do is off the charts,” Holm said. “It’s pretty fantastic.”

And with winter just around the corner, Holm said he’s not quite ready to say goodbye to summer.

“I’m trying to hold onto summer as long as I can,” he said. “There’s plenty of winter. … I feel like I didn’t get enough summer.”

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com.

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