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The City Journals

Changing leaves add another attraction to Oktoberfest

Sep 23, 2019 10:51AM ● By Josh Wood

Celebrating German culture at Oktoberfest. (Photo by Chris Segal, used by permission)

By Joshua Wood | [email protected]

One of the longest running cultural festivals in Utah still has a few more weeks to go this October. It started in mid-August, but Oktoberfest gets into full gear during its namesake month at Snowbird. The festival still has plenty of activities for the entire family. Plus, as the seasons change, the fall leaves add another dimension to the event.

The 47th annual Oktoberfest continues each Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. until Oct. 20. The event comes with more than just beer and brats. The festival includes rides and games for kids and a celebration of German culture. The sounds of traditional German music fill the crisp mountain air for dancing and celebrating.

Of course, there are plenty of beer and brats for those who choose to indulge. In fact, the event features over 50 varieties of beer, from traditional German brews to a range of local offerings.

“If beer and brats isn’t your thing, there are some really cool desserts and chocolate,” said Brian Brown of Snowbird. “There are also local craft vendors and food stations.”

As the 10-week festival moves into its final few weekends, a new attraction emerges in the surrounding mountains. Festivalgoers can take the tram up to the top and take in the fall colors as the trees start to change. Each Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m., there will also be a concert at the top.

Meanwhile, back at the festival hall, traditional German folk music and dancing continues throughout the day. Even those without German roots can’t help but stomp their feet to the festive music.

Family-friendly activities during Oktoberfest include the Alpine Slide and a ninja-style obstacle course. The variety of food options and outdoor activities help fill the afternoon surprisingly quickly.

Admission to the event is free, with charges for rides and food. Of course, the surrounding hiking trails are also free of charge and another way to enjoy the surroundings as the leaves change. While the hottest summer temperatures are a thing of the past, getting a taste of the crisp mountain air, along with the festive food and drink, makes this a rewarding tradition that Utahns have enjoyed since 1973.

“More than anything else, it’s a fun, inexpensive way to get up in the mountains,” Brown said. “The feel of the cool mountain air, the sounds of the German music, it’s an amazing quick thing to go to from the Salt Lake Valley.”