Once upon a time, a handsome Bavarian crown prince wed a toothsome princess in the town of Munich, Germany, and all the land celebrated for days.
The date was Oct. 12, 1810. King Louis I and Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen got hitched and kicked off a five-day party that ended with a horse race. The following year, the race was combined with an agricultural fair, and in 1818, the hungry and thirsty townsfolk added food and beverages to the festivities. In the 1880s, the celebration was moved to the month of September to better fit the end of harvesting, and also, perhaps, take advantage of more idyllic weather.
And now we in the U.S. have piggybacked onto the annual celebration of Bavarian culture with hundreds of Oktoberfests across our great land. After being canceled last year due to the pandemic, Colorado Springs Oktoberfest returns Friday through Sunday at Western Museum of Mining and Industry.
“People are used to going downtown for special events,” said Kaleigh O’Donnell, the event’s communication director, “but this is a unique experience on the north end of town where you can enjoy German beer, food and dancing, and bring your friends and family for a good time.”
While the Springs event will likely not approach the amount of beer consumed at Oktoberfest in Munich this year — about 2 million gallons drunk by more than 6 million visitors, according to Britannica.com — there are plenty of beer, schnapps and wine options from which to choose.
Four beers will be offered, including dunkel, an amber-colored malty beer, a pilsner and a hefeweizen. If you sign up for bier schule (beer school), you’ll learn about different brewing processes and other beer trivia, and receive access to a fifth beer.
Beer steins of varying sizes will be sold throughout the day, along with beer tokens. And for nonbeer fans, there’s wine and cocktails, along with a German vineyards wine tour or schnapps tasting. For those who like a little creativity while they drink, Brushes in the Barn sessions with I Arted allow attendees to paint while they sip.
Music by Camillo and the Prime Time Band and the U-turn Brass Band will alternate throughout the weekend, and in between bands will be contests, including costume and stein-hoisting contests. And the ever-popular Dachshund Dash takes place at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
“They’re a traditional German dog,” O’Donnell said. “It’s a quirky event we’ve taken from some of the things they do at different Oktoberfests in Germany.”
Contact the writer: 636-0270