Is there a better way to spend one of the last lovely days of summer than to attend a wonderful outdoor festival? My husband and I attended the 10th annual Parker Oktoberfest this past weekend, held in O'Brien Park, in the beautiful town of Parker, Colorado. We looked forward to a day of authentic German music, dancing, beer and food. There was a giant Biergarten and entertainment tent set up on the grounds, as well as many umbrella shaded tables nearby, in which to enjoy the food and entertainment. The Parker Oktoberfest has been an annual fundraising event for the last ten years, to raise money for the Colorado Council of Arts Science and Culture operating budget to support area arts, science and cultural programs. This year they partnered with the Colorado chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce to co-produce the event.
The tradition of an "Oktoberfest" started in Munich, Germany on October 12, 1810 as a celebration to honor the marriage between Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese. The party was so popular it became an annual celebration. It is also associated with the end of harvest and often held at the end of the last Saturday of September to the first Sunday of October. Many German Americans continue this tradition in their communities. Have you ever attended one?
(All photos, and photo collages, in this post will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on).
Soon afterward, the Denver Kickers Schuhplattler Dance Group were introduced.
They performed many delightful traditional German/Bavarian dances.
It was really fun to watch the skill and the gusto which the dancers exhibited. I was particularly amused by the cute little daughter of one of the dancers, who was also dressed in costume, and who watched from the sidelines and joined in the dance from time to time.
I took videos of some of the dances which you can watch on my Mille Fiori Favoriti facebook page on their direct links: here, and here and here.
I could smell the delicious aromas of food in the air, and so we walked around to see what some of the food vendors were selling. There was sausages, schnitzel, spatzle, chicken, salmon, bratwurst, knackwurst, sauerbraten, sauerkraut, black forest cake, apple strudel...
....giant soft pretzels and a Paulaner beer selection and wines supplied by Purgatory Cellars of Colorado. We enjoyed eating brats and having a beer a few different times during the day!
We also enjoyed browsing and shopping at the 80 or more vendors that were at the Parker Oktoberfest. There was a variety of merchandise, services and information booths available, some of which you can see in the photo collage above.
My husband also enjoyed looking at the features of the two Volkswagen vehicles on display by one of the festival sponsors.
We went back to the large tent to sit down and enjoyed watching the TEV Edelweiss Volktanz Group. They performed a few traditional German dances and afterwards invited the audience to join in.
The 2015 Miss Oktoberfest, Lily Goetze, also joined in a dance with the group and other audience members!
The Parker Oktoberfest is geared towards family fun, and the family entertainment area had lots of children activities, games and rides to enjoy. There was a "competition tent" in the family center, and we watched a junior cherry pie eating contest.....
...as well as an adult Stein Hoist!
Other competitions of the day included a bubble gum blow up contest, yodeling contest, bratwurst eating contest, chicken dance off, and others!
Back in the big tent we listened to the music of the Average German Band.
They played some wonderful traditional polka songs which had the crowd dancing, as you can see on this video on my Mille Fiori Favoriti facebook page, as well as the fun "Chicken Dance" with costume characters that enhanced the young children. Soon the rooster and chicken had everyone up and "flapping their wings" along to the music. If you'd like to see a video of the chicken and rooster dancing to another German folk song, click this facebook direct link.
The Denver Kicker Schuhplattler Group also had repeat performances of new dances. They also invited the audience to join in and the tent was filled with music and dancing.
Young, or old, or in-between, everyone had a good time at the Parker Oktoberfest!
Autumn tree color has arrived in Colorado at the higher elevations, and will soon arrive in our portion of the Front Range. It is my favorite time of the year! It is a short season in Colorado so I hope to enjoy every minute of it. Is fall showing her pretty face in your area? Have you been enjoying any fall festivals as yet?
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* In full disclosure I was invited by the German American Chamber of Commerce to attend the Parker Oktoberfest and treated to vouchers for free brats and beer at the festival. All opinions about the Parker Oktoberfest expressed in this post are mine, and were not influenced by the GACC or the free vouchers.