FRISCO – Grab your steins! Don your dirndls! The annual September tradition of Oktoberfest is back in town.This Saturday, Frisco Main Street will be brimming with beer, bratwurst and Bavarian culture for the fourth annual Frisco Oktoberfest. Aromas of Landjager summer sausage and herbed spatzle will fill the air, as the Edelweiss Schulplatters grace the streets with traditional Bavarian dancing.And Sunday, the festivities continue at Copper Mountain’s Burning Stones Plaza and Keystone’s River Run Plaza.”Traditionally, an Oktoberfest is a celebration of a Bavarian wedding,” Suzanne Burke, special events coordinator for the town of Frisco, said of this weekend’s movable feast. “Obviously we have no connection to that. (Here) it’s a mountain-town tradition of celebrating our mountain lifestyle. Ours is centered around beers and brats. We drink, and we do the chicken dance. That’s what we do.”Accordingly, beers and brats will be the center piece of the Frisco-Copper Oktoberfest. Pug Ryan’s, Dillon Dam and Breckenridge breweries (as well as Coors) will be supplying the beer, while more than 15 local food vendors will bring the brats. “Our Oktoberfest is a little smaller than Munich’s, but just as fun,” said Annie Holton, owner of the Blue Spruce. Despite her lack of German roots, she has sold food at the event for the last three years. “You know we’re all Irish on St. Patty’s day,” Holton said. “You have to go out and serve beer and eat bratwurst on Oktoberfest.”A lack of German roots isn’t a problem for Horst Meissner, owner of Horst’s Mobile Cuisine. Meissner operates his kitchen out of a van, offering food indigenous to his native Cologne, Germany around the county.”The people in Cologne are born with a sense of humor, and (other) German’s have to drink beer to get a sense of humor!” Meissner said in a heavy Bavarian accent.
Traditions like Oktoberfest help add a touch of levity to the German temperament, Meissner added, a problem that has never plagued his quick wit.”I make strudels and plum cake Cologne,” Meissner said. “The strudel’s the best strudel on the planet. Most people tell me it’s true.”Beyond the strudel and the plum cake, this Saturday Meissner hopes to sell between 400 and 500 bratwurst and vats full of his homemade sauerkraut onFrisco’s Main Street. Meissner bakes the sauerkraut for three hours with a host of secret herbs and ingredients like honey.”Hopefully we have sunny and sunny and sunny,” Meissner said of his hopes for this weekend. “No sunny, no honey, you know?”Rain or shine Sunday, Keystone will kick of its first FritzenKick Oktoberfest. Fritz Alpine Bistro and Kickapoo Tavern are hosting the event independent of the Frisco-Copper festival and, accordingly, have injected their Bavarian bonanza with a distinctive flair.Fritz’s owners Tom and Shari Scholten, along with Kickapoo’s Shervin Rashidi, are determined to bring back the true nature of Oktoberfest parties that were held in Munich, Germany, at the turn of the last century. Fritz’s executive chef Andreas Grogger, a native of Gmunden, Austria, has researched the traditional competitions and brought five events to the FritzenKick festivities: Hau den Lukas (a bell-ringing competition), Hagl Ziagn (tug-of-war), Fuas Hackln (horizontal arm wrestling), Masskrug Halten (a hammering competition) and Nögin, a game in which contestants hold a one-liter mug of beer straight out in front of them. Whoever holds the five-pound weight up the longest wins.Whether such games were contested in the very first Oktoberfest is difficult to verify. Indeed, the first event was not a festival but rather the massive public celebration of the Crown Prince Luitpold I and Princess Terressa of Bavaria’s wedding on October 17, 1810. Like FritzenKick, all nobles and commoners from the surrounding countryside were invited. Legend has it that more than 1,000,000 gallons of beer were consumed during the inaugural Oktoberfest. “FritzenKick will not attempt to beat this record,” Scholten said. Andrew Tolve can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 227, or at email@example.com.
Schedule for the Frisco-Copper OktoberfestSaturday11 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Frisco Main StreetSunday11 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Copper Mountain, Burning Stones Plaza– For $15, attendees can purchase an Oktoberfest stein and two drinks. All tips and donations will be directed to the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina relief fund. As for the food, the menu will include Landjager Summer Sausage with imported Emmanthaler Cheese, Thueringer Bratwurst with Kraut and Bavarian pretzels and Avalanche Ale Beer Braut with herbed Spatzle. Schedule for FritzenKick Oktoberfestat Keystone’s River Run Plaza
Sunday11 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Summit Brass BandNoon – Keg Tapping with Bürgermeister Bob CraigNoon to 1 p.m. – Those Austrian Guys, Oompah Band1-2 p.m. – T.E.V. Edelweiss Dance Group2-4 p.m. – Those Austrian Guys4-5 p.m. – T.E.V. Edelweiss Dance Group5 p.m. – Hagl Ziagn (Finger Wrestling) finals5-9 p.m. – Those Austrian Guys7 p.m. – Fuas Hackln (Leg Wrestling) finals7:30 p.m. – Crown the Masskrug Halten (Liter Mug Holding) champion
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