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Oktoberfest barreling into Deadwood this weekend

October 2, 2018

DEADWOOD — Roll out the barrel. It’s time for Deadwood’s biggest fall celebration, as Oktoberfest comes barreling into town Thursday through Saturday.

While the idea of celebrating Oktoberfest isn’t unique, the spin that celebrating in historic Deadwood puts on the German mainstay is.

“There is no other place in the Hills that you can go to an Oktoberfest celebration and watch wiener dogs race, sample German food for free, compete by rolling kegs down the street and tossing footlong hotdogs, and dance the night away to your favorite polka music, all in the same day,” said Deadwood Chamber of Commerce Marketing Director Amanda Kille, adding that while there are a couple of new aspects of the celebration this year, the chamber has worked hard to develop a great formula over the years that they consistently go back to.

“People love it!” she said. “Our goal is to make each year better than the last. Visitors can expect variety during the beer and brat feeds. Quality brands of the Black Hills and Budweiser will bring in something unique and different for people to sample. Folks can also expect to sample a lot of variety during the cook-off on Saturday. Deadwood’s top chefs are vying for a ‘best of’ award, so they always pull out all the stops and come up with something new, year after year. I should also mention that PolkaFest has moved to Tin Lizzie this year.”

Oktoberfest gets hopping with PolkaFest music by Just Jim & Tammy Thursday 5-9 p.m. and Julie Lee & The White Rose Band Friday and Saturday noon-4 p.m.

Also on Friday, registration for the Tour de Oktoberfest begins at Oyster Bay from 4-6 p.m. and the Tour de Oktoberfest, where participants visit locations throughout Deadwood’s Main Street for games and prizes, being held from 5-9 p.m.

Saturday, registration for the weiner dog races begins at 11 a.m. in front of Mustang Sally’s, with the actual races kicking off at 1 p.m. in front of the Bullock Hotel. Right after the races, registration for the beer barrel games begins at 2 p.m. in front of the Gold Dust. The German Cook-Off will be held at locations throughout Deadwood Saturday from 2-4 p.m. And for those still standing, the 12th annual beer barrel games kick off in front of the Gold Dust at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Kille said that it’s difficult to give a hard and fast number of Oktoberfest attendees, when one looks back at the pictures of previous Oktoberfest celebrations, there are thousands of people who come out to watch wiener dogs race and the beer barrel games, and hundreds that play the Friday night Tour de Oktoberfest games and sample German food, all of which are free to the public.

“There are typically 60-70 dogs that are registered to race. We do not cap the number of entries. All registrants must sign up in front of Mustang Sally’s between 11am and 1pm on Saturday. The earlier the better,” Kille said. “There is a modest fee to enter and all money collected is donated to the local animal shelter. The Beer Barrel Games are a huge hit for participants and spectators. Each year we cap the teams at 24, total. Most people sign up the day of. It’s first come, first served during registration, unless you call us ahead of time and reserve a spot for your team. Each team pays a $20 registration fee. The fees are pooled and the winning team chooses the charity that will receive the money. It’s a feel-good kind of day. People are having fun and we’re helping out good causes.”

As far as pre-registration for the competitions goes, participants can call the Chamber at 578-1876 or (800) 999-1876 to have a form emailed to them for the Wiener dog races and to reserve a spot during the Beer Barrel Games, but all racers must come through the registration line to complete their paperwork, sign wavers and be ID’d (Beer BarrelGames) the day of.

Visit www.DeadwoodOktoberfest.com to see a detailed event schedule.

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