Breckenridge Oktoberfest returns in full force on Main Street for the 1st time since the coronavirus pandemic
Family-friendly festival runs Sept. 23-25
Breckenridge Brewery & Pub has been a part of Breckenridge Oktoberfest for years, but this weekend is the first time the local establishment will be featured as presenting sponsor. Breckenridge Brewery is ready to take on the challenge with around 370 kegs of Breckenridge Oktoberfest, a traditional German amber lager.
Last year for the modified Brecktoberfest, the brewery brought other styles instead, as the lager was already allocated to other accounts. This year, Breckenridge Brewery culture czar Todd Thibault said they doubled production to avoid repeating that mistake. The festival on Main Street was always one of their bigger events, but now Thibault said it is their largest.
“On Sunday at 6 p.m. of Oktoberfest, I can officially retire,” Thibault joked. “… This is my 27th year with Breckenridge Brewery, and it truly has been one of my goals to be the presenting sponsor of Oktoberfest. I’m a happy man.”
Thibault said Breckenridge Brewery appreciates that Paulaner Brewery, the previous sponsor, let them participate over the years. He thinks they wheeled only 12 kegs straight from the pub to the festival the first time they were invited.
Now, like Paulaner, Breckenridge Brewery is bringing on a new suite of guests such as Broken Compass Brewing and Talbott’s Cider Co. from Palisade.
“It’s time for us to pay it forward,” Thibault said.
What: Breckenridge Oktoberfest
When: 2-6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25.
Where: Main Street and Riverwalk Center lawn, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge
Cost: Free to attend, but $35 for collectible steins. Visit GoBreck.com to purchase and for the full schedule.
Along with the Oktoberfest amber, Breckenridge Brewery plans to bring Funslinger, a new year-round lager and Never Summer Industries collaboration. Broken Compass meanwhile will have their Bavarian Hefeweizen. For those avoiding gluten or wanting a change of pace, Talbott’s will have an unfiltered Belgian wit cider called Apfelwein.
Thibault estimates they will have close to 550 kegs combined by Friday morning, Sept. 23. There will also be made-to-order cocktails and Line 39 wines available, and Breckenridge Brewery will have cans of Palisade Peach Wheat and Good Company hard seltzer.
The drafts will pour perfectly into this year’s collectible half-liter steins designed by Andrew Dengate. Steins and drink tokens can be purchased in advanced online through 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22. Online stein orders come with two free drink tokens. Steins and tokens can also be bought in-person at the Riverwalk Center with debit or credit cards only.
The festival has more than just beer. People can pair the drinks with traditional German fare like spaetzle, schnitzel, pretzels and brats. Drink vendors can only accept tokens, but most food vendors will accept cash.
“I’m pretty excited for the schnitzel,” Breckenridge Tourism Office spokesperson Lauren Swanson said.
As folks eat, they can tune in to live German music by the Polkanauts, Those Austrian Guys and Rhinelanders in addition to songs from the Pine Beatles and Moonstone Quill on multiple stages. The festival’s main stage will also host stein-hoisting contests and a kid’s costume contest.
The Riverwalk Center’s lawn will be the hub for family-friendly activities. A play area will have a free bounce house, face painting and more. The hours are more limited than the full festival, and the family zone is only available from 1-6 p.m. Friday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25.
Swanson said that while many people consider pets part of the family, Oktoberfest is a no-pet event.
It is Broken Compass’ first time participating in the festival, so the brewery is celebrating with specials and events at both of its taprooms. Attendees can bring in their stein for a discounted pour and enjoy the brewery’s other German beers such as kolsch and schwarzbier. People can also drink from 68-ounce boots and full-liter steins.
The taprooms, located at 68 Continental Court, Unit B12 and 520 S. Main St., will have music from bands like Blue River Grass and Affordable Housing, too.
Breckenridge Brewery doesn’t have any events specifically related to Oktoberfest happening at its pub, but head brewer Jimmy Walker said it usually becomes an unofficial gathering place. As the party returns to Main Street for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic, he is looking forward to reuniting with folks throughout town.
“I’ve never seen more locals wandering up and down Main Street saying hi to each other,” Walker said. “If it is sunny and nice, it is going to be hopping.”
Cheers to community
That sense of camaraderie found among the breweries extends to festivalgoers as well. The Breckenridge Tourism Office encourages residents to bring five nonperishable food items from 5-6:30 p.m. at Blue River Plaza Friday to benefit the Family & Intercultural Resource Center. Locals will receive a limited edition Breckenridge Oktoberfest stein. Additionally, people can bring clean, label-free Nos. 1, 2, 5 and 6 plastics to contribute to the Breckenridge Creative Arts’ Precious Plastics event.
The eco-friendly theme continues with refillable water stations located throughout Main Street, and vendors have been asked to not sell any plastic bottles during the event. New this year, all alcoholic beverages not poured in a stein will be served in aluminum cups.
Lastly, registration is still open to volunteer with the tourism office. People can sign up to assist in four-hour shifts to receive a stein and drink tokens. A volunteer appreciation party is set for 4:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, at Rocky Mountain Underground, 114 S. Main St. People can sign up at bit.ly/OktoberfestVol22.
“We definitely couldn’t do the event without the team of volunteers that stand behind us,” Swanson said.
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