German flavor for fall
Adirondack Oktoberfests offer food, beer and music
Some people appreciate the reds and golds that come every fall.
John Carr likes autumn colors, too. But he’d rather have amber and dark brown — colors found in seasonal, German-style beers.
Carr operates the Adirondack Pub & Brewery in Lake George, and next month will run his annual Oktoberfest party. Germany will come to Canada Street on Saturday, Oct. 13, when he and other brewer friends will pour local handcrafted beers with German gusto, grill sausages and other German foods and wear traditional European clothing.
“I think it’s Lake George,” Carr said, explaining why his autumn diversion is a success. “It’s fun, it’s fall. It just has a good fit to it for some reason.”
Others will bring Germany to the Adirondacks during the next several weeks. Oktoberfests are scheduled for Hague and in Wilmington, at Whiteface Mountain. The Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom’s take on the German festivities will conclude today; the park’s “Rocktoberfest” is aimed at a younger crowd and features rock bands along with a German buffet and seasonal brews.
Roots in Europe
Closer to home, the Glenville Oktoberfest will be held Saturday, Sept. 29 at Richmor Aviation at the Schenectady County Airport. German music, foods and beer will be available from noon until 9 p.m.
Oktoberfest has long roots in Europe. The first big beer party was held in Munich on Oct. 18, 1810, to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The current Bavarian observance runs from mid-September to early October and has become the most famous event in Germany. Millions attend every year.
Carr will settle for hundreds. He believes people want to be outside during early fall, when there’s still a little summer in the air.
“When I look at the crowds we get, there are people who want to get outdoors,” he said. “They want fun social activities, they want these kind of more active experiences. There’s nothing wrong with going to a church supper in Vermont, but an Oktoberfest in the Adirondacks is a heck of a lot more fun.”
Those going to an Oktoberfest, Carr believes, should bring some of the fun themselves. It shouldn’t be a crowd of people in jeans and sweatshirts.
“I encourage people to dress up,” he said. “Bring your lederhosen, your dirndls. There’s definitely a German vibe to this thing, we have German banners hanging down so there’s a German feel to it. I think that’s important, with the German foods and German desserts.”
Carr’s party begins at 1 p.m. and runs until 5. Regional breweries such as Cooper’s Cave, Olde Saratoga and Magic Hat will bring their German-style beers to the proceedings.
Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Go to Adirondack Pub & Brewery's web site for more information. Proceeds will be given to charity — this year, funds will go to Wait House in Glens Falls, an emergency shelter for local youth.
Hague’s fourth Oktoberfest will be held next weekend. A Friday night tent dance will be held in the town park with country-rock band Calamity Rock. That’s just a warm-up for Saturday’s main event, which features “Oktober” beers, German food and Fritz’s Polka Band from noon until 7 p.m.
Graham Bailey of Silver Bay said people like coming to the town’s take on Germany. Hague likes the visitors, many of whom come from the Capital Region and parts of Vermont. “Part of what motivates us is we want to showcase Hague and let people know what a nice little town it is,” Bailey said, adding that the natural setting helps attract people.
The party has expanded from just a one-day event. The Friday party, $2 admission and $5 for families, is also a food collection night for the Hague Food Bank. And the same admission prices will be charged Saturday.
Bailey figured that because the tents were already up, it would a good idea to get a little more use out of them. That’s the reason the tents are also used Sunday, for a sunrise church service in the park at 9 a.m.
The 21st annual Whiteface Oktoberfest will be held in Wilmington on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29 and 30. Traditional autumn beer and food are served. Arts and crafts and children’s amusement rides are also in the mix.
Music will come from German festival band Die Schlauberger, performing under the entertainment tent outside the base lodge each day, and Ed Schenk on the accordion. The ski center’s Cloudspin lounge will also feature music from Schachtelgebirger Musikanten and Spitze and The Alpen Trio.
Ski season preview
Jon Lundin, a spokesman for Whiteface, said some people consider Oktoberfest a sign that ski season is approaching. Snow fans are often making runs by Thanksgiving.
Whiteface’s party will begin at 10 a.m. and run until 6 p.m. on Sept. 29. On Sept. 30, hours will be 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $9 for juniors and seniors. Gondola rides are $13.
“I think it’s the beautiful time of the year in most of the area,” Lundin said. “The colors are in full bloom for Lake Placid and Wilmington. It has that sort of Bavarian feel — you look at the buildings and the architecture, the rolling hills and the mountains. For some, they get the feeling they’re in Bavaria. You can expect a lot of great Bavarian music, a lot of Bavarian foods like sausage, pork, cabbage. And you can’t go wrong with the beer.”