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Boulder Gets Its Bavarian on: Oktoberfest is Back

September 22, 2018

Cameron Varner, left, and his father, Larry, enjoy beers and laughs Friday at Boulder Oktoberfest. See more photos at dailycamera.com.

If you go

What: Boulder Oktoberfest

When: noon to 11 p.m. Saturday

Where: Central Park: 1236 Canyon Blvd.

Cost: Free admission.

More info: oktoberfestboulder.com

More Oktoberfests

• Longmont

Oct. 5 and 6 at Roosevelt Park, 700 Longs Peak Ave.

Food trucks and more than 10 breweries will be on site at Lefthand Brewing’s annual celebration. Live music by JJ Grey and his Mofro, sack races for kids and adults, costume contest and cooking of Colorado’s longest bratwurst. Information: lhbfoundation.org/longmont-oktoberfest . Proceeds benefit the Left Hand Brewing Foundation and St. Vrain FC.

• Louisville

Oct. 5 and 6 at Community Park, 955 Bella Vista Drive

Live music, food and 5K or 10K fun runs for adults and a one-mile race for kids. Information: louisvilleoktoberfest.org .

Oktoberfest season is underway.

With events coming in Louisville and Longmont in the coming weeks, Boulder got things rolling Friday, the first day of a two-day party with food, drinks and live music in Central Park.

Boulder’s edition of Oktoberfest, presented by Recess Factory and sponsored by Paulaner Brewery, features everything from authentic German stein vendors to keg bowling to stein hoisting to the Boulder County Corn Hole Championship.

Festival attendees Carl and Lisa Armanini have been to multiple Oktoberfests all over the world, and the two had nothing but praise for Boulder’s take on the tradition.

“We’ve been to a few Oktoberfests in Germany and Cincinnati, and there are attractions here that neither of us have seen before,” Carl Armanini said. “Like the keg bowling.”

Recess Factory went to great lengths to modernize Oktoberfest without taking away from its traditions. A massive bowling alley with kegs instead of pins and other games, such as Human Glockenspiel, are just a few of the ways president of Recess Factory David Janowiec has done so.

“We want to be a modern day Oktoberfest, so a lot of the games you see here, you won’t see at the Oktoberfest in Munich,” Janowiec said. “The idea is to take a more modern approach and make it feel like something the residents in this area would want to go to.”

The contemporary aspect is just a small twist the company has incorporated, but at its heart the event retains the same sense of Bavarian tradition celebrated all over the world for more than 200 years.

Paulaner is one of the only beers brewed in accordance with the standards of Oktoberfest within Munich’s city limits and is one of the only beers found at Oktoberfest in Munich. Having Paulaner sponsor and pour at Oktoberfest Boulder makes the experience authentic, Janowiec said.

If it is the beer that lends authenticity to an Oktoberfest event, Recess Factory’s 200 kegs of various Paulaner drafts and 60 kegs of stem ciders make it a success. However, the beer isn’t the only staple of Oktoberfest on display at the event; the vendors also have a traditional feel.

Gourmet European bratwursts are served from catering trucks, and Bavarian pretzels, apple strudel and other delicacies also are available from European-style vendors, like Shannon Campbell’s Styria bakery.

“We cater lots of farmers markets and festivals like this,” said Campbell, who owns Styria with her husband. “My husband is from Austria, so that’s the reason our food is so wonderful and delicious. It’s because it’s made the right way.”

Campbell loves catering events, especially any Oktoberfest celebration.

“This Oktoberfest is smaller than others, but it has everything it needs. It has good pretzels, good beer, good brats, good music, so what’s not to like?” she said.

Musical acts performing at the festival include Sublime tribute band, 40 Oz. to Freedom, and The Clash cover band, The Nuns of Brixton. Bavarian, Oktoberfest themed music is performed by The Alan Polivka Band.

Focus also is on the community — from local restaurants to University of Colorado students serving as event staff to dancers from local studio Vertical Fusion performing Bavarian-style numbers around the park and on a giant glockenspiel clock stage, which Recess Factory staff built by hand.

Boulder has not seen an Oktoberfest in some time, so the event doesn’t have the luxury of being a proven success. But Janowiec has a vision for what it can be.

″ It’s a three-year plan,” Janowiec said. ” ... The second year, I’m hoping it will double from the first, and by year three, I believe an event like this should be doing 500 kegs in a three-day turnover.”

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