Event is more about family fun than beer
The 10th annual Parker Oktoberfest will bring German beer, food and traditions to downtown in September as the community celebrates the change of seasons.
The fundraising event, which celebrates the end of harvest, will begin with a VIP opening on Sept. 18 and run through Sept. 20 in O’Brien Park.
The family-friendly activities will include live German music and Bavarian cultural dancers, a Biergarten serving four Paulaner beers and a schnapps shooter team that will be serving “Oktoshots,” a wine tent, delicious German food, and a number of competitions for children and adults.
This year’s celebration is sure to be fun for the whole family while also raising money for the wide range of programs supported by the Colorado Council of Arts, Science & Culture (CASC).
There will be a “family center” area that will feature 13 contests a day, including brat eating for adults, pie eating for kids and yodeling, says Jeff Fox, president of the CASC.
The festival also will feature more than 80 vendors and a variety of activities for children, including an obstacle course, bungee tramp, climbing wall and “midway games.”
“It’s intended to be more about family than it is about beer,” Fox says.
The event will have a large, 5,000-square-foot tent, providing a comfortable setting to listen to bands and enjoy the authentic food and beverages.
With the downtown Parker real estate office of Engel & Volkers as the presenting sponsor, the 2015 Oktoberfest is sure to be more authentic than in years past. The CASC also partnered with the German American Chamber of Commerce for the first time this year to make the event more genuine by attracting more German and European-based vendors, Fox says.
“People don’t remember an event. They remember the experience,” he says. “We are trying to grow and create a great cultural experience for all people that attend.”
Authentic is what you’ll find from the food vendors, who include world re-known Chef Walt Neuhold of Styria Catering, Parker’s own Rick Seewald of Sweet Lorraine’s Catering and Denver’s newest German restaurant, Wurstkuche.
The list of entertainers is also steeped in German tradition. The Continentals have been a favorite staple with the event for 10 years, while Average German Band and Tanzkapelle are definite crowd pleasers. The Denver Kickers and TEV Edelweiss Volktanz are precision-based dance groups that are sure to impress.
And, of course, the Chicken Dance, which first came to the United States in 1981 as part of the nation’s Oktoberfest celebrations, will be part of the fun.
“I’m all about the chicken dance. That’s what everyone associates Oktoberfest with,” Fox says, adding that there will be Chicken Dance competitions, eggs races and more to get everyone into the spirit.
In addition, White Fence Farms will be on hand for the first time to prepare Red Bird Farms chickens for attendees’ eating pleasure, including “Oktobocks,” which are German drumsticks on the bone.
The fundraising event, which raises 40 percent of the CASC’s operating budget to support area arts, science and cultural programs, has come a long way since its inception 10 years.
When Parker Oktoberfest was first held 10 years ago, it was personally funded by Susan Quarles, CASC’s vice president, and featured a couple of vendors, a German band and some beer.
This year, there will be more than 80 vendors, a full band lineup, family center and lots of beer, wine and schnapps, as well as an estimated 20,000 attendees.
For information and the complete entertainment schedule, visit ParkerOktoberfest.com.