Dust off your lederhosen and dirndls, skip the plane ride to Munich and celebrate the end of summer, Colorado-style.
In its eighth year, Longmont Oktoberfest is one of the area’s most anticipated fall gatherings. This weekend’s event, at Roosevelt Park, promises plenty of opportunities to savor a brat, sip on brews and listen to touring and local acts — all while giving back to some of the area’s most deserving nonprofits.
Eric Kean, community outreach and events manager for Left Hand Brewing said the event will benefit Left Hand Brewing Foundation, Future Arts Foundation and Longmont Humane Society.
“Longmont Humane has been a pillar of the Longmont nonprofit community for more than 30 years,” said Kean. “Working with them gives us an opportunity to support an organization with an awesome mission, tons of great supporters and a wonderful staff.”
Future Arts Foundation has not only helped youth across the Front Range tap into their creative sides, but also launched Strings and Stories at Firehouse Art Center, an intimate concert series.
“Our contributions from this event will go towards funding arts and music camps for kids held right here in Longmont, and are available free of charge to children of first responders, military and police,” Kean said.
Saturday at Oktoberfest, Future Arts Foundation will team up with Boulder-based Tinker Art Studio to offer kids free art workshops.
“We’re actually personal friends with a bunch of the musicians, so it’s going to feel like a family gathering to us,” said Travis Albright, founder of Future Arts Foundation. “It’s going to be great seeing Yonder Mountain String Band in our own backyard. We can’t wait.”
JJ Grey and Mofro, The Wailers and The Hazel Miller Band have all previously taken the stage at this annual celebration deemed “a must visit Oktoberfest” by DRAFT magazine.
“We are so blessed to have an incredible music scene here in northern Colorado,” Kean said. “Obviously it’s a huge honor to have Yonder Mountain String Band headlining both nights of the festival. Over the last 20-plus years, they have changed the face of acoustic and bluegrass music and their live show is incredible.”
Yonder will take the stage at 8:15 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.
“I can’t imagine my guys learning too many polkas or wearing lederhosen, but we will definitely bring a party to the fest in our own special way,” said Allie Krall, fiddler for Yonder Mountain String Band. “Fans can expect different sets from us both days. We won’t repeat a single song — true to Yonder style.”
On Sept. 28, Krall and her bandmates will play alongside Jason Isbell, Josh Ritter, Futurebirds and others as part of the third-annual Marcus King Band Family Reunion, held at Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mountain, N.C. But, before they head to Carolina, they will delight jamgrass enthusiasts of the Front Range.
“When I think of Oktoberfest, I think of beer, sausages bigger than your head, more beer, pretzels, German polkas and even more beer,” Krall said. “The band will no doubt enjoy all of what Oktoberfest has to offer, and is no stranger to Left Hand Brewing Company. [Bandmate] Adam [Aijala] even made his own ‘Yonder’ beer with them a few weeks ago.”
Kean said the collaboration beer Left Hand brewers created with Aijala was brewed just for Oktoberfest, and will be on tap alongside other Left Hand offerings of Oktoberfest, Flamingo Dreams and 40 Mile IPA from Left Hand.
Beer fans can also enjoy a diverse array of beverages from 300 Suns, Bootstrap Brewing, Dry Land Distillers, Grossen Bart Brewing, Kure’s Craft Cocktails, Mountain Sun, Slalom Fox Cocktails, Wibby Brewing Company and Wild Cider. Jiant Hard Kombucha and Present CBD Seltzer Water will also be available.
“Longmont Oktoberfest is centered around the incredible craft-beverage scene in Longmont,” Kean said.
The stage, at Roosevelt Park, will host a rotating selection of some of the area’s finest musicians. From Foxfeather to The Elephant Collective, attendees will be treated to top acts throughout the duration of the two-day event.
“What I’m excited for most is every artist on the festival is from this area, including some of Longmont’s best artists in Bonnie & the Clydes, Foxfeather, Clandestine Amigo and Francis and the Wolf,” Kean said.
Head for the Hills, The Drunken Hearts, Lonesome Days and Rosh & the Blind Café Orchestra are also on the varied bill.
“We’ve felt a lot of love and support from Left Hand Brewery over the years, so we’re excited to be partnering with them again,” said Laura Paige Stratton, vocalist, keyboardist and guitarist for Front Range-based band Foxfeather. “Oktoberfest is extra special, because we get to play alongside friends, support our community and work with an amazing production team, Rockfan. We plan to be there as much as possible over the weekend to check out the other acts and enjoy some of the best beer around.”
Foxfeather will perform at 2 p.m. Saturday. Fans of the sonically blissful Americana group may just hear a debut cover at this weekend’s event.
“Attendees can expect a powerhouse set from our full seven-piece band,” Stratton said. “We’re lucky to have Kate Farmer join us on background vocals, so there will be multi-part harmonies, as well as powerful instrumentals and lots of energy.”
In addition to the awesome soundtrack, attendees will have plenty of cuisine options to fuel their weekend of fun.
“Our traditional Oktoberfest activities are always a crowd favorite, including stein-holding and brat-eating contests, sack races and traditional polka music,” Kean said. “Plus delicious Oktoberfest foods like homemade pretzels, brats and sausage in addition to local food trucks.”
Winners of all contests held at Oktoberfest, including best dressed, will receive a certificate for “Beer for a Year” at Left Hand’s Tasting Room.
Those that wish to get a more active start to the day can hop on their cruiser on Saturday.
“The Firkin Bike Ride is an awesome part of the event, celebrating everyone in town,” Kean said. “Look for stops at Grossen Bart, Longs Peak Pub and more. We will be departing from Left Hand’s Tasting Room at about 1 p.m.”
While the Future Arts Foundation and the Longmont Humane Society are the main organizations that will receive 10 percent of the festival’s gross profits, the Left Hand Brewing Foundation will invest a portion of profits into a fund designed to be a resource for community emergencies and needs.
Other organizations will have a presence at this all-ages, rain or shine event.
“Folks should definitely take the time to swing by the Dru Project booth and learn about their work supporting LGBTQ causes and awareness, as well as the Veterans Community Project tiny home and see what their plans for a development here in Longmont look like,” Kean said. “They are hoping to build a tiny-home community to provide housing and services to homeless veterans, all as a non-profit.”
If you go
What: Longmont Oktoberfest
When: 3 p.m.- 10 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. Saturday
Where: Roosevelt Park, 700 Longs Peak Ave., Longmont
Cost: $15 for single day general admission, $25 for 2-day general admission, $75 single day VIP, $135 for 2-day VIP, $5 for 2-day youth pass (kids ages 5-12)
More info: lhbfoundation.org/longmont-oktoberfest
And over in Boulder…
What: Oktoberfest Boulder
When: 2 p.m.- 11 p.m. today, 10 a.m.- 11 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Central Park, 1236 Canyon Blvd., Boulder
More info: 40 Oz. to Freedom (Sublime tribute band) and Wake Up and Live (Bob Marley tribute) will be performing. Games, food, Polka, ceremonial keg tap with Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones and more; oktoberfestboulder.com
And over in Fort Collins…
When: 1-10 p.m. Saturday
Where: Old Town Square, Fort Collins
More info: Family-friendly outdoor music festival with food vendors, beers and live music all day from groups like Whitewater Ramble, Guerilla Fanfare and more; downtownfortcollins.com
And over in Berthoud…
What: Berthoud Oktoberfest
When: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 5
Where: Fickel Park, 620 Mountain Ave., Berthoud
Info: Family-friendly outdoor festival with food vendors, beers, live music and Bavarian strength and pretzel-eating contests and more; berthoudoktoberfest.com