It’s not October, but the festive beer drinking has begun.
Lederhosen, the smell of bratwursts and puddles of spilt beer occupied 20th through 22nd streets down Larimer during Denver’s opening weekend of its 43rd celebration of Oktoberfest. Those who weren’t able to attend last weekend shouldn’t fret, the iconic festival still has one more weekend of binge drinking left up its stockings.
Denver’s Oktoberfest attracts more than 350,000 people during its six days of festivities and has been quoted by USA Today as “The Best in the United States.”
“I like how fun it is to celebrate something in September that’s not ‘til October,” said Air Force member Luis Sotu who was working at one of Samuel Adams’ “Raise the Stein” tents. Members of the Air Force worked hard to trade costumer’s tickets for beers and commemorative steins at the tents this year as they’ve done in years past.
Attendees looking to drink are required to buy tickets at $5 each. One ticket gets a beer, while four tickets get a commemorative stein filled to the brim with the customer’s choice of Samuel Adams brew.
Opening weekend kicked off with Boston Beer Companies Brewery Manager, Jennifer Ganville, tapping the first keg.
“Drink up and tip up. And please drink responsibly,” Ganville said to the crowd. She then joined, Walter, singer for the Westminster band “Austrian Connection’s”in a toast said in German.
Soon after opening, the street became jam-packed with people of all ages carrying turkey legs, pretzels, and beer (for those 21 and older of course). Fireworks from the Colorado Rockies game lit the sky on Friday giving attendees a fun and smokey show that added to Oktoberfest’s fun.
Booths offering many kinds of drinks and German foods lined the street while giant canopies sheltered tables for tipsy and hungry attendees to sit, relax and escape from the boozy, crowded battleground.
Pre-qualifiers for the Stein Hoisting Competition, carried on during the first weekend, were groups of men and women who had two full 1.5 liter steins that they had to hold straight out for as long as they could. The championship will be held on Sept. 29 and male and female winners will be awarded an all expense paid trip to Boston for two, compliments of Samuel Adams.
A variety of bands performed on the German and Rock Stages while different groups of dancers entertained, including Castle Rock’s Chalet Dancers, who performed in the middle of the festival on 21st and Larimer. Friday featured orange spacesuit wearing entertainers, the “PolkaNauts,” who played polka rock music for the crowd. Many bands, including the “Summit Concert Band,” “Dirk Quinn Band” and “Reckless Red” will be performing during the festival’s last weekend.
Oktoberfest offers entertainment and fun even for those not old enough to imbibe adult beverages.