The real Fricker-in’ deal |

The real Fricker-in’ deal

Erik Vienneau

For those of you who are wondering (and we know you are) about Vail’s living mascot, Helmut Fricker, unlike the kilt-wearing Scottish, he does wear underwear under his lederhosen. Another important fact that has lead to much of the success of the Bavarian-born street performer is the tightness of those lederhosen.”They have to be tight, so I can yodel,” Fricker says with a laugh that is as familiar to his fans as the accordion playing, alpenhorn blowing and barrage of joke telling he has become famous for.Fricker is gearing up for Beaver Creek’s Oktoberfest, which bursts into beer drinking and bratwurst eating splendor Saturday, Aug. 31 and Sunday, Sept. 1. He’ll be making the Bavarian-themed rounds as he has been in the Vail Valley for the past 30 years.He’ll be joined by his band and Bavarian dancers, as well as the Carol Frazier Band, Alberg Musig, who is visiting from Austria, and headliner Southside Johnny & the Ashbury Jukes.”This is a very special weekend,” says Fricker, who grew up in the Black Forest near Bavaria. “It’s a celebration of the fall. There will be plenty of dancing, singing and beer, the flowers are in full bloom, the aspens are starting to turn and the weather is usually wonderful even the architecture reminds people of Bavaria.”Having perfected the art of high-class street performing worthy of Vail and Beaver Creek, Fricker has starred in a series of national advertisements for Paulaner Beer while becoming a draw for kids as well as their entertainment-seeking parents. Fricker does much more than play the accordion, alpenhorn and sing.He has plenty of magic tricks and family-friendly jokes. “I was just on the moon,” he says, his voice quaking with restrained laughter, “but I left because there was no atmosphere.” If you catch Fricker when he’s in a more risqu mood, the jokes can be different.”If the kids are not around, the jokes are a lot more colorful,” Fricker says.His political banter is also available in five-minute comic bursts in Beaver Creek Village. “Three years ago I became a citizen,” he jokes. “In January I had a job. I had to cut down all the trees around the White House. I had to make room for the Bushes.”While many resorts have to import their Bavarian talent for Oktoberfest, Vail has almost always had the Black-Forest-born Fricker to help out on the entertainment circuit.He first played in Vail in 1970 and moved here permanently in ’74. One of the performer’s most memorable Vail experiences is hosting a picnic on the mountain at least once each winter and then skiing down and yodeling with fans following him down the hill singing.He says the most exciting moment was when he played a cocktail hour for Jordan’s King Hussein and his queen at the Ambrosia bar in the early ’80s.Labor Day weekend is Ocktoberfest in Beaver Creek. Events begin at 11:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.q

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