By Darren Nelson, feature writer for My Local Utah
A Utah tradition is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year at Snowbird. The Oktoberfest at Snowbird, one of the biggest festivals in the state, attracts thousands of visitors each year. Every weekend beginning in mid-August and going through mid-October, the festival takes advantage of Little Cottonwood Canyon’s fall climate and scenery.
Oktoberfest at Snowbird is a family-friendly affair with plenty of fun-filled activities, great food, and cold refreshing beer on tap. Lots to do and see here. So, let’s take a closer look.
Beer is a great place to start when talking about Oktoberfest. This event’s annual Biergarten offers more than 50 varieties of beer. Included in these varieties are several traditional German-style beers and favorite libations from local breweries—including Uinta, Squatters, and Moab Brewery. For more options, you can visit the outdoor bar at The Forklift. Plenty of choices for plenty of tastes are available. Saving some cash may even make the beer taste better. Use an already purchased Snowbird Oktoberfest 1-liter stein or mug and top it off with a discount. You might want to start your own collection as Snowbird expands its availability of mugs and steins annually.
Too much of a good thing and need a ride down the canyon? Snowbird has your back. Catch a Canyon Transportation van at the Oktoberfest Arch (available every half hour starting from 4:30 pm until 8 pm.) These vans will take you and your friends to a Park & Ride location of your choosing in Cottonwood Heights. From there it is easier to order a rideshare service or have someone pick you up. These vans are limited capacity and first come first serve, but a great option when you need them.
What would Oktoberfest be without some great German food? Bratwurst, Weisswurst, spaetzle, beef roulade, and all the sauerkraut you could ask for. Taste some traditional east like schnitzel, potato pancakes, and German-style potato salad served warm. And don’t forget dessert options from baked goods to tortes.
If German cuisine is not your craving, then try some of Snowbird’s original creations. Familiar options like the beef brisket from the Traeger tent or the Pepsi BBQ burger from Gadzooks.
Pretzel and fry tents are at arm’s length for a fast snack. And for flavors favoring the sweet tooth, the waffle tent is serving up fully loaded Belgian waffles and other treats. There is something to satisfy all cravings at Oktoberfest.
Entertainment and Activities
Oktoberfest has a sound all its own. Everything from the sound of Alphorns on Hidden Peak, to live music on the stage, there is a lively atmosphere at Oktoberfest.
Looking for something fun for the whole family, Snowbird has several outdoor rides and games to try. An Alpine Slide, Mountain Coaster, and climbing wall are available for the more adventurous. A rope course, tree climbs, and slides for the young-at-heart and scenic tram ride for those who just want to enjoy the mountain landscape. These extras have their own cost and are not part of Oktoberfest’s free admission.
A Little History
The origins of Oktoberfest are rooted in 19th-century Bavaria, where King Ludwig called for a wedding festival in Munich to celebrate his marriage. Over the years, or centuries now, the festival and its familiar Biergarten have become an October tradition all over the world. Here in Utah, it wasn’t until Labor Day weekend in 1972, just a year after Snowbird’s opening, Oktoberfest began in earnest. Originally housed at Snowbird’s Center Plaza Deck, this event has grown to meet it new home Oktoberfest Halle (located behind the Snowbird Center).
Oktoberfest has evolved from humble beginnings to a proud tradition throughout the years but keeps the same shared appreciation and enthusiasm for tradition, community, and beauty of Snowbird’s mountain setting.
More information about Oktoberfest can be found here.
Parking: $10 per car ($30 additional for valet)
When: August 16 – October 16, Saturdays and Sundays
Time: Noon – 6 pm
Notes: No smoking, no pets.