Oktoberfest will return to Frisco
summit daily news
FRISCO – Dust off your lederhosen and polish your beer stein, because after a one-year break, Frisco will once again celebrate a traditional Oktoberfest.
This year’s event is set for Labor Day weekend (Sept. 5 -6) at the Peninsula Recreation Area and will be put on by Andy Grogger, a native of Austria with a long history of bringing tasty Bavarian-style food and fun to the High Country.
“I’m glad he’s picking up the ball and running with it,” said Frisco communication director Tim Bock. “He’s got a real passion for it.”
This year’s Oktoberfest is not an official town event, but Frisco will help with some of the logistics, Bock said, explaining that Grogger pulled a permit from the town to use the rec area and set up Oktoberfest tents.
Along with that passion, Grogger brings a long history of Austro-Bavarian food expertise to the table. For a time, he managed the Kaltenberg Castle in Vail’s old gondola building, then dished up the tastiest goulash on this side of the Danube at Fritz’s, a popular eatery at Keystone’s River Run village.
Along with the food, Grogger is also part of a local combo known as Those Austrian Guys, who have entertained thousands of people at Keystone’s popular fondue dinner at the mountaintop Outpost.
Grogger hopes to put on festival on par with the popular Breckenridge version of the Bavarian beer bash, originally held to celebrate a royal wedding in Munich. Along with traditional food and music, Grogger said he’ll try make sure there are plenty of activities for visitors, including leg wrestling and mug-holding contests.
Grogger, whose succulent roast pork and bratwursts are legendary among local foodies, will also provide the food for Frisco’s Corvette show on July 26, with proceeds benefitting the local Nordic ski club.
Along with the beer (Wartsteiner will be the brew of choice in Frisco), authentic food is crucial, and that’s one area where Grogger won’t fall short. He plans to offer four different types of traditional sausages, along with roast pork and other specialities, including savory meat-filled dumplings known in Austrian dialect as “Haschee Knoedel.”
Grogger said a large local ex-pat population with Bavarian and Austrian roots helps drive the success of local Oktoberfests.
“They want to bring something with them … and a successful Oktoberfest needs to have an authentic Bavarian taste,” Grogger said. “If you get the guests involved, they’ll stay a little longer, maybe drink another beer,” he added.
The original festival in Munich is partly defined by a spirit of camaraderie and community togetherness that’s all wrapped into one German word: “Gemuetlichkeit.” There’s never been a way to accurately translate that word into English, but Grogger said it’s related to a feeling of relaxed coziness.
Oktoberfest guests are a big part of creating a successful event, he added.
“They need to come hungry and thirsty, and willing to dance and have fun,” he said.
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