“I started out just selling tickets and the steins and that, and then they created a cash-only booth,” DeCarli said of the booth she now runs every year. “The lines were getting pretty long, but at the cash-only we’re able to whip them in and out.”
DeCarli’s booth is smaller than the main booths on the perimeter of the event, and it’s right in the middle of the action.
“We sell beer tickets, check IDs and just give everyone a smile and hope they come back again and again,” she said.
In its 20th year, it seems the Breckenridge Oktoberfest is keeping up its continuity. The three-day celebration is held from Friday, Sept. 12, through Sunday, Sept. 14, this year, and guests can expect the same festive traditions that keep them coming back for more.
TOPPING OFF TRADITION
In years past, the event has seen some 8,000 gallons of beer, and more than a mile of pretzels consumed, according to GoBreck, the organization that promotes the event.
To kick off the weekend, the Paulaner Brewmaster’s Dinner will feature a five-course beer- or wine-pairing meal at Spencer’s in the Beaver Run Resort at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12.
“The Brewmaster’s Dinner is a highlight of the weekend,” said Gavin Dalgliesh, GoBreck events coordinator. “Brats and pretzels are a great part of the street party, but this dinner elevates those traditions, and Paulaner knocks it out of the park with beers to match.”
The new venue for the dinner offers more seating than in years past, said Rachel Zerowin with GoBreck, which means there is still an opportunity to buy tickets.
“The dinner refines typical Oktoberfest flavors, and the pairings transform it from a kickoff party to a true food and drink event,” Zerowin said.
The beer will continue to flow throughout the weekend as Main Street Breckenridge closes and the street party comes to life with traditional costumes, authentic Bavarian food, oompah polka music and dancing, children’s activities, a keg-tapping ceremony and a 5-kilometer trail run on Saturday morning, Sept. 13. The fun is in motion until 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 14.
SPIRIT OF THE SEASON
DeCarli and her husband, Wiley, sold their second home in Breckenridge last year, but they are renting their old neighbor’s place in Breckenridge this summer, and DeCarli said she simply could not miss Oktoberfest.
“I love working with the people from the town and I like the hustle and bustle — it’s kind of my forte,” she said with a chuckle. “And it’s nice that I get to work with some of the same people, year after year. I feel very honored that they ask to be with me in the booth.”
Although there will be a lot of dirndl and lederhosen attire around, event-goers will be able to spot DeCarli by her festive dress.
“They give us a T-shirt,” she said. “But I have an apron, and on it looks like a fraulein with a lot of cleavage. So I wear that over my T-shirt.”
Just be prepared to throw some layers over your costume, since the mountain weather in September can be unpredictable. DeCarli said one year, a second-hand ski shop did record fall business during Oktoberfest because it snowed.
Or if it’s cold, just keep consuming. The busy booth doesn’t allow DeCarlie to do much beer drinking or bratwurst eating of her own, but she said a must-try food vendor is “the one that has the lobster rolls.”
“They are absolutely fantastic,” she said. “The booth is usually down toward Ski Hill Road.”
Oktoberfest includes more than two dozen food vendors, with everything from spaetzle and schnitzel to cinnamon pretzels and giant apple fritters.
The festival will feature three beers from Paulaner, including the traditional Oktoberfest Weisn, which is the same brew served at the original Munich Oktoberfest in Germany. Local libations will be served from the Breckenridge Distillery, as well as a gluten-free beer by Omission and a selection of wines and drink offerings. GoBreck recommends pre-purchasing beer tickets and steins.
Music and dancing will rotate on the stage at the Blue River Plaza throughout the weekend. For full event details and to pre-purchase steins and tickets online, visit www.breckenridgeoktoberfest.com.