The German word “Gemütlichkeit” doesn’t translate directly into English, but its meaning captures the warmth of family, friends and community.
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.
Beautiful weather made this inaugural event even more fun for attendees.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
The races had a large following with spectators cheering for their favorite canines.
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.
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.
Rebecca Treat, who attended with her children and grandchildren, wore her dirndl from Bavaria, calling the event “wunderschoen,” or lovely.
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.”