A 200-year old tradition that began in Germany and is now celebrated around the world continues this weekend in Breckenridge for the town’s 21st annual Oktoberfest celebration taking place Friday, Sept. 11 to Sunday, Sept. 13.
The 16-day festival held annually in Munich from late September to early October draws more than 6 million people from around the world. In the Rocky Mountain area, Breckenridge holds its own, considered one of the largest celebrations in terms of beer served. The town claims to pour around 8,000 gallons of brew, enough to serve the entire Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium at a Bronco’s game. This year will be no different for the popular event, offering a variety of entertainment, vendors with traditional German fare and crowds of people looking to eat, drink and be merry.
BREWS, FOOD AND ENTERTAINMENT
Breckenridge’s Oktoberfest will feature the traditional wiesn, marzen and hefeweizen beers from Paulaner.
“The nice thing about Paulener is they bring that tradition,” said Rachel Zerowin, from the Breckenridge Tourism Office. “They are one of only six breweries that serve beer at the Munich Oktoberfest.”
Local craft brews from Breckenridge Brewery will also be available. The brewery will be serving its Lucky U IPA, Agave Wheat and Vanilla Porter. There will also be a gluten-free Brunehaut amber option, along with wine and non-alcoholic beers.
When it comes to food, all the traditional German fare will be available from dozens of vendors from both Breckenridge and around Colorado.
“People come from all over the state for this, Andy’s Kitchen is a big one, they serve all of the traditional foods,” Zerowin said. “Styria Bakery, they do Austrian pretzels and apple strudel. … I love the traditional stuff because it’s not something we see all year long.”
Throughout the weekend Those Austrian Guys will be providing entertainment as well as traditional German dance performances.
“You’ve got the touch of Breckenridge, you’ve got the taste of Munich all combined,” Zerowin said.
The Main Street party begins at 2 p.m. on Friday. Zerowin suggests that families plan to attend on Friday or Sunday, as Saturday is when Breckenridge sees the most crowds for the event. A family play area with inflatables (for a charge) will be located near the intersection of Main Street and Jefferson Avenue.
OLD & NEW TRADITIONS
The 14th annual Oktoberfest 5K will be held Saturday, Sept. 12 with a 10 a.m. start. The 5K race is open to 200 runners and the course will follow town of Breckenridge trails. Pre-registration for the race ends at noon on Friday, with day-of registration beginning at 8:30 a.m., Saturday. Course maps are also available at Breckenridge Welcome Center front desk.
Also on Saturday is the Breckenridge Brewery’s Oktoberfest Brunch. The four-course meal with five beer pairings is a popular event and reservations are required.
While old traditions continue, there are always new traditions to be had. This year, football fans can catch their favorite college and NFL games throughout the weekend on a big-screen digital television set up at Main Street and Jefferson Avenue.
“People can come out, watch their favorite football game — you have no excuses not to come,” Zerowin said.
Festival-goers should don their best dirndl and lederhosen because KSMT is hosting costume and stein-holding contests throughout the weekend in honor of its 40th birthday.
The Summit and Breckenridge chapters of the Rotary Club will also be at the Oktoberfest event, drawing a winning ticket from its car raffle on Saturday at 5 p.m. Raffle tickets to win a 2015 Ford Escape can be purchased at summitrotaryevents.com. A maximum of 8,000 tickets are sold, and the winner doesn’t have to be present at the drawing to win. Sales continue until all tickets are sold or until the time of the drawing. The odds of winning with a purchase of 14 tickets for $100 is 1 in 572.
As it has for the last four years, the popular Brewmaster’s Dinner held Friday, Sept. 11 from 6:30–9 p.m. is sold out. The dinner features a five-course beer or wine pairing meal at Ten Mile Station on Peak 9.
“Everybody equates Oktoberfest with pretzels and strudel and spaetzle and rightfully so, because it’s all a delicious part of the street party, but what I love about the Brewmaster’s Dinner is that Paulaner really steps it up a notch.”