Snowbird Ski and Summer Resortís 45th annual Oktoberfest kicked off this year on Aug. 15, just in time to welcome us back to school and celebrate the incoming autumn season. Oktoberfest dates back to the 19th century in celebration of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausenís marriage on Oct. 12, 1810. The citizens of Bavaria celebrated with beer, food, music and horse racing. These traditions continue on in Utah and all over the world.
Welcoming us to Oktoberfest 2017 was the line to enter one of the many beer gardens offered at Snowbird, well worth the wait for a variety of both German style and locally crafted beers. My personal favorites were the Bohemian Oktoberfest, a toasty Munich malt with caramel notes, and the tried and true Piggy Back Peach IPA, a tart and fruity daytime draft. Each beer garden has a little something different to offer, giving individuals with picky pallets a variety of options, while practically guaranteeing theyíll find their perfect brew.
The Oktoberfest Halle tent serves traditional Bavarian food such as bratwursts, schnitzels and a new favorite of mine, spatzles, a dish so deliciously savory and salty it could move any food lover to tears. Snack huts are also scattered throughout the grounds where you can find pommes frites, Bavarian waffles and pretzels. Accompanying our meal, we were able to enjoy live folk music and even yodeling. One bonus to purchasing at least $15 of food from the Halle tent is you are given $5 off the tram ride by giving your receipt to the ticket office.
Snowbird provides plenty of fun activities for adults and kids of all ages. From face painting, bouncy slides and musical chairs to dancing, corn hole and caricature drawings, it would be difficult to not find something to enjoy. Der Marktplatz is filled with vendors ranging from local makers to brand name ski wear. The overall feel-good atmosphere makes the festival that much more enjoyable and dressing in lederhosen and dirndl is not only acceptable, itís encouraged.
Our entertainment for the afternoon was Salt Lake City’s own Hectic Hobo, self-described as “Wild West whiskey rock.” Before the show, I was able to chat with the lead vocalist, Hasen Cone, about performing for local events.
ìWe love doing this one because the weather is always nice and everyone is in good spirits,î Cone said.
The band played songs from its catchy new album, “Died on the Fourth of July,” as well as covers of other artists. Its rustic version of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” had the audience singing along and swaying to the bittersweet melody.
Although the festival itself takes a lot of time to set up, the work is worth the reward, because according to VisitUtah.com, “Oktoberfest attracts more than 60,000 visitors each year making [it] one of the largest festivals in Utah.”
So don’t miss your chance to participate in the fun. Oktoberfest is open every Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 6:30 p.m. until Oct. 15. Guten appetit.