Raise a stein to Oktoberfest in Beaver Creek
Vail CO, Colorado
BEAVER CREEK ” Beers, bratwurst and Bavarian music will come together this weekend during Oktoberfest in Beaver Creek village.
The event is a miniature version of the festival that draws 6 million people to Munich, Germany each fall.
“It’s the biggest party in the world,” said Vail resident Helmut Fricker, a German native who pushed to import Oktoberfest to Beaver Creek 11 years ago.
Event organizers expect about 5,000 people to attend Oktoberfest in Beaver Creek. The ice rink will morph into a beer garden serving traditional German brews like Erdinger. Oktoberfest beers are heavier and darker than a standard brew, with a slightly higher alcohol content, said Ludwig Kurz, an Austria native who serves as director of community relations for Beaver Creek Resort.
To compliment the beers, local restaurants set up tents with Oktoberfest foods.
For instance, the Beaver Creek Chophouse plans to make veal and buffalo brats, along with gröstl ” boneless shortribs that are braised, diced and sauteed with potatoes, onions and an Austrian herb called lovage.
A chef with the Alpenrose restaurant in Vail will demonstrate how to cook a stuffed roast pork tenderloin.
“I selected this recipe because it represents something from my home town and it goes with the theme of Oktoberfest,” said chef Gunther Schmidt, who is from Mainz, Germany.
Also keeping with the theme, traditional Oktoberfest music will play during the festival. Fricker, 72, will don his lederhosen and play Bavarian music with his band. Fricker plays the accordion and alpenhorn, the 11-foot horn featured in Ricola commercials.
Other performers include Trachtenkapelle, a brass band from Beaver Creek’s sister resort, Lech Zurs, Austria, and the L.A. Allstars, a rock and dance music cover band from California.
To kick off Oktoberfest, the second annual Oktoberfest Shuffle encourages exercise for a cause. The event is a walk, Nordic walk, hike or run along either a 5- or 10-kilometer course in Beaver Creek. Organizers hope to draw more than 150 participants and raise $10,000 for the Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group, an Avon nonprofit. Money will fund the “Day to Play” program, which gives women diagnosed with breast cancer $500 to spend on things like a massage or dinner.
Last year, the 125 people who signed up for the shuffle raised $5,000. The event is unique because participants get a free beer and bratwurst.
“Where else can you hear the national anthem played by the Lech Austrian band?” race director Nate Goldberg said.
The festival in Beaver Creek kicks off a series of Oktoberfests in the valley. Lionshead and Vail Village will hold similar festivities in September.
Beaver Creek’s festivities will take place nearly a month before Oktoberfest begins in Europe.
Holding Oktoberfest early makes sense because tourists are sparse in late September and October, said Jay McCarthy, corporate chef for the Beaver Creek Chophouse. The weather is too cold for golf, but snow has not yet started to fall, he said. And holding Oktoberfest early means musicians and chefs from Austria who would normally be busy with their own Oktoberfests can participate in Beaver Creek’s event.
“By having a, let’s just call it a shoulder Oktoberfest, it works out for us and for them,” McCarthy said.
Oktoberfest started in Vail in 1972. Fricker said he talked with local officials about launching the event. Fricker said Vail’s alpine setting and high concentration of German natives lends itself to an Oktoberfest.
“It’s only natural to have an Oktoberfest here,” he said.
High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or firstname.lastname@example.org.