Boulder Oktoberfest

A barrel of fun

by Dave Gibson

Oktoberfest is a Bavarian tradition that began in Munich, Germany, in the year 1810 with the marriage of future King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Boulder Oktoberfest at City Park on Broadway and Canyon, Friday, September 21st, and Saturday, September 22nd, was another of many most recent. World-renowned Paulaner Brewing Company hosted the event. Paulaner is one of the only brewers that meet strict standards and is served at Oktoberfest in Munich. Their beers have been enjoyed since 1634 when they were first brewed by Minim friars.

Celebrants had their choice of European bratwurst, giant pretzels, apple straddle, as well as an impressive array of pilsners, lagers, and ales. A beer keg on wheels was slung down a wooden lane towards ten taller and lighter kegs in Keg Bowling. No strikes were noted. In what seemed an easier undertaking, I thought I’d give Nagelspiel (competitive nailing) a try. I drove a sixteen-penny nail through the 2”x 4” with the heavy hammer in a single blow. “What’s so hard about that?” I wondered, until told that the object of the contest is to pound the nail with the pointy end of the hammer! Beer Hoisting had strict rules as well. The goal is to hold a 3 ½ lb. stein filled with a liter of beer in the air as long as you can. Your arm must remain away from your body and parallel to the ground. A thumb gripped atop the handle is grounds for disqualification. The world record for beer hoisting is rumored to be 23 minutes, 13 seconds. Some of the contestants lasted around four minutes or until the urge to drink the beer became too strong. Bands on both days put the oomph in oom-pah-pah with timeless standards such as “Too Fat Polka,” “Beer Barrel Polka (Roll Out the Barrel),” “Beer, Beer, Beer,” and “In Heaven There Is No Beer (That’s Why We Drink It Here).” The “Chicken Dance” was a lot of fun for those not “chicken” to try, clapping their hands, flapping their arms, and wiggling downward. In true Bavarian fashion, Glockenspiel dancers popped out above the stage like clockwork every hour on the hour to herald the beginning of another sixty minutes of good times.

Dave Gibson has been a contributor at the Weekly RegisterCall for thirteen years. To view past articles and pictures go to

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