Three women in German dress costumes.
From left, Cheryl Hurley, Rene Hanson and Marsha Bickler show off their dirndls, ready for the German costume contest at Oktoberfest. Credit: Deb Hurley Brobst

The German word “Gemütlichkeit” doesn’t translate directly into English, but its meaning captures the warmth of family, friends and community.

3 people holding their dachshunds.
Dachshunds and their owners line up at the starting line during the first weiner dog race at Oktoberfest at Buchanan Park on Sept. 23. Credit: Deb Hurley Brobst

That’s what Oktoberfest on Sept. 23 that benefited Mount Evans Home Health Care and Hospice was all about. Nearly 1,000 people came to the Buchanan fields to listen to music, try ax-throwing and beer-stein lifting, watch adorable dachshunds run – and play – in weiner dog races, ate German food such as bratwurst, pretzels and schnitzel, and more.

man holding to large glasses of beer
Volunteers cheer on Mark Lemon of Evergreen after he held two steins filled with beer for 8 minutes and 2 seconds. Lemon also competed in the finals during Oktoberfest. Credit: Deb Hurley Brobst

Beautiful weather made this inaugural event even more fun for attendees.

Man holding an ax
John Connelly of Evergreen tries his hand at ax throwing at Oktoberfest. Credit: Deb Hurley Brobst

“The turnout is more than we could have ever expected,” said Keri Jaeger, Mount Evans president. “So many people came here wanting to learn more about us or having experience with us. It was heartwarming to hear their stories about their experience.”

Four people wearing silly sunglasses posing for a photo
Kaitlin, Penny and Ralph Rosario of Arvada and their friend Kristen Watkins, back, have their picture taken in a photo booth at Oktoberfest. Credit: Deb Hurley Brobst

In addition to German food and libations, children played games, and attendees rolled large tires with Evergreen Crossfit, took photos at a photo booth and more. 

Woman in a German dress watching pumpkins
Marianne Temple with Evergreen wears a dirndl as she volunteers at Oktoberfest. Evergreen Rotary and Michelle Vanags State Farm Insurance sponsored the kids games, including the pumpkin ring toss. Credit: Deb Hurley Brobst

Hardy souls – or at least those with strong arms – held steins filled with beer to see who could hold them the longest. Two full steins weigh about 10 pounds, and the contest required that the beer did not spill, and the competitor must hold the steins straight out away from the body.

Man with a bullhorn gesturing as five people hold their dachshund before a race.
David Hanna emcees the weiner dog races.

By 2 p.m., Mark Lemon of Evergreen had the longest time, 8 minutes and 2 seconds, and he said he knew he would be a natural at holding the steins. He is Scottish, and he said Germans and Scots are well known for being able to drink beer.

Woman holding her dachshund
Jade Grijalva prepares 10-month-old Arlie the dachshund for a heat in the weiner dog race. Credit: Deb Hurley Brobst

A highlight was the weiner dog races where many of the German dachshund breed came out ready to run. Abby Croell of Broomfield brought Herman, a 2-year-old pup, and she wanted to give him a chance to race.

Woman and child both wearing traditional German dresses
Rebecca Treat and her granddaughter Adelaide, 3, enjoy Oktoberfest while wearing their dirndls from southern Bavaria. Credit: Deb Hurley Brobst

The races had a large following with spectators cheering for their favorite canines.

Two people in German costumes holding steins of beer
Alison and Nathan Blair of Denver try holding beer steins as their daughter Rowan watches. Alison held the steins for 1 minute, 5 seconds, while Nathan held the steins for 4 minutes, 53 seconds. Credit: Deb Hurley Brobst

Some attendees dressed in lederhosen (leather breeches) and dirndls (dresses), which are traditional Bavarian clothing that typically comes out for Oktoberfest. Evergreen’s Oktoberfest also had a costume contest.

Man and boy holding large pretzels.
Gerry Kostuk and his son Gerard of Evergreen show off the pretzels they got at Oktoberfest. Credit: Deb Hurley Brobst

Attendees agreed they loved the atmosphere and the fun activities, happy that Oktoberfest had returned to Evergreen. Evergreen had an Oktoberfest more than a decade ago.

Man talking into a microphone with another man holding a bar stein.
Jim Sherwood, Oktoberfest’s emcee, introduces Mark Bickler, who has won numerous beer-stein holding contests, including one the day before in Denver. Credit: Deb Hurley Brobst

Rebecca Treat, who attended with her children and grandchildren, wore her dirndl from Bavaria, calling the event “wunderschoen,” or lovely.

Woman with a cell phone holding her dachshund
Abby Croell of Broomfield prepares to take a video of 2-year-old Herman the dachshund during a race. Herman took second in that heat. Credit: Deb Hurley Brobst

Betsy Hays, Mount Evans’ director of resource development, thanked the crowd for attending the first Oktoberfest, noting that changes would be made for next year to make the experience better.

“This is not going to be the end,” Hays said. “This will be the first of many.”

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