Originally a proud German tradition started in 1810, Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, has become one of the world’s largest fairs. The annual event gathers more than six million people from across the world over 16 days and is typically held from late September to early October.
With nearly a million Coloradans claiming German heritage, we here in this state have our own fair share of Oktoberfests. Most events feature Bavarian food, dance, music, and of course, “bier” or beer. Although, there are also some that take a unique turn at the festivities and only offer Colorado brewed beer and locally grown food. Whatever mountain resort town you may be traveling through as you bring your summer vacation to a close, be sure to toast the autumn season with an Oktoberfest festival near you. Below are some of the top Oktoberfests in resort mountain towns definitely worth taking a gander at.
Top Mountain Resort Oktoberfests in Colorado
September 8-10, 2017
Considered the largest Oktoberfest street party in the Rocky Mountains, Breckenridge Oktoberfest is where Munich meets the mountains. Closing off the majority of Main Street Breckenridge, this year’s event features new 2017 collectible beer steins, more than three-dozen genuine German cuisine and brew vendors, and of course, what Oktoberfest would not be complete without Bavarian lederhosen and oompah and polka dancing.
While the weekend is full of beer, there are also festivities for those under the legal drinking age including face-painting for the little ones, a 5k run for those on the more athletic side, and just for fun for everyone – a wide variety of German themed games, including the popular Hammerschlagen. It’s also the perfect time to view the fall foliage and vivid yellow Aspen trees that create the breathtaking magic of this season. Make it a weekend-long mountain getaway and explore the popular Aspen tunnels on the surrounding trails throughout Breckenridge.
September 8-10 & September 15-17, 2017
A crowd pleaser for decades, Vail Oktoberfest returns to the Vail Valley this year for two full Bavarian festive weekends – September 8-10 in Lionshead and September 15-17 in Vail Village. Visitors will enjoy traditional Bavarian food including brats, schnitzel sandwiches, spaetzle, pretzels, and more, all proudly served with bier directly from the Munich brewery, Spaten.
Other festivities include the return of such local favorites as the Bratwurst Eating Contest and Keg Bowling, along with traditional Bavarian music, dancing, yodeling, stein lifting, and an Oktoberfest costume contest. Free concerts are scheduled on both Saturday nights. A Family Zone during the day will provide fun for families with kids including crafts, entertainers and a kids 1K fun run.
Vail Oktoberfest has been named by USA Today as one of the ten greatest Oktoberfests in the U.S. So, grab your beer steins and lederhosen and head to Vail for a Bavarian good time.
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
September 15-16, 2017
Looking for something a little different from the traditional German Oktoberfest fare? Check out Steamboat Spring’s OktoberWest – Oktoberfest with a western twist. The 7th annual Steamboat OktoberWest features Rocky Mountain brewed beer and local food and festivities instead of German beer and cuisine.
The weekend kicks off on Friday, September 15th from 4-8 p.m., with the Friday Night Beer Stroll, a pub crawl through historic downtown Steamboat Springs with stops at various restaurants for beer tastings. Meet at The Chief Theater, then stroll through historic downtown with your event mug for two tastings at each of the participating restaurants. Each stop along the stroll will offer a specialty beer on tap to taste. Tickets are required for this event and “strollers” must be 21 years old to participate.
Festivities continue through Saturday, September 16th with the BEEF, BEER and Steamboat! I Love Beef Cook Off and Beer Garden at the Steamboat Mountain Village from 2-6 p.m. Held at Gondola Plaza, local Steamboat Springs restaurants will be serving up their very best beef in hopes of winning your vote for the best beef in town. The Beer Garden will feature over 45 Rocky Mountain Brewers, each with two kinds of local brew to sample. Visitors will also enjoy live music from the live/electronic band, Afrolicious.
Families can take the kids along to enjoy the Coca-Cola Adventure Zone, open from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Test your skills out at the Wakerz Ropes Course or have a whirl on the all-time favorite Slingshot Bungee Jump! The Gondola will be open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and one ticket is good for a full weekend of riding.
River Run Village, Keystone, Colorado
September 2, 2017
For a combined Colorado and German tradition, kick up your heels and raise a stein with Colorado-brewed Oktoberfest beers from New Belgium Brewery during Keystone’s Oktoberfest. This one-day event will be held September 2nd at River Run Village in Keystone, and will feature polka and oompah bands, a stein holding contest, all the favorite German fare to make your mouth water, and of course plenty of Colorado craft beers that draw from German roots to go around!
The day kicks off at 12 noon with the annual Das Bier Burner 5K. So, track down some lederhosen and train up for this fun run. The trophy for crossing the finish line is a pint of delicious craft German bier. Prost to that!!
Families can bring their kids to the Kids Free Activities area where they will enjoy chicken dancing, free face painting, a bounce house, plus dance performances from the Edelweiss Schuhplattlers. Live music and entertainment will fill the air throughout with day with the Summit Concert Band, Edelweiss Polka Dancers, and multiple performances by Those Austrian Guys.
Beaver Creek Oktoberfest
Beaver Creek Plaza, Beaver Creek, Colorado
September 2 -3, 2017
In its 18th year, Beaver Creek’s Oktoberfest returns to Beaver Creek Plaza with foot stompin’ polka and oompah music, incredible German beer, and its famous wunderbar wurst. The event runs two full days, both Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd & 3rd.
Live music and entertainment will highlight the weekend with headliners Trachtenkapelle from Beaver Creek’s sister city in Austria, Lech Zurs, along with Beaver Creek’s very own Helmut Fricker. Visitors of all ages will have the chance to compete in the Bavarian Costume Contest on Saturday. On Sunday, kids will be able to showcase their musical talents at the Kids’ European Alpenhorn contest.
A Kids’ Fun Zone will be open from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday offering German-themed activities and arts and crafts for kids 12 and under. For the adults, don’t miss the Oktoberfest Shuffle before enjoying the brats and beer garden on Sunday morning! This is the perfect time to be outdoors and hike, bike, and play a round of golf while celebrating Oktoberfest in Beaver Creek.
That’s a wrap on the top Oktoberfests in and around our mountain resort communities. While you are out sampling beer, sporting your lederhosen, and polka dancing, don’t forget to stop in at any of our Christy Sports locations and check out our great end of summer deals and pre-ski season sales! With locations in each of these resort towns, stop by and see us no matter which celebration you choose. Prost!!