Biergarten Festival in Morrison, Colorado gets it right

Biergarten Festival 2012 LOGOThe 16th Annual Biergarten Festival – July 13 & 14, 2012  

Last year I was interviewed by Kama, from 99.9 FM in Fort Collins, Colorado. She asked me, “What makes a great festival?” I answered that setting is a huge part of what makes a festival special and authenticity is huge.

There are three parts to creating great ambiance at an event and that’s setting, authenticity and layout. The Annual Biergarten Festival is a shining example of getting all three things right.

This event takes place at the TEV Edelweiss Outdoor Pavilion just outside of Morrison, Colorado at the edge of Mt. Glennon Park. The setting is spectacular. Surrounded by green rolling hills, you can almost believe that you are in Bavaria, Germany, especially with a cold Paulner beer in hand.

boys dancing at Biergarten Festival girl dancing with shadows at Biergarten Festival girl dancing at biergarten festival 2011

Authenticity is what Biergarten Festival is all about. It’s a typical German family-style summer party complete with traditional German food, beer and entertainment. German dance troupes, such as the talented Schuhplattlers, delight audiences with their fancy footwork and polka bands entice young and old to the wooden dance floor.

more dancing  at biergarten festival

A crowded dance floor at Biergarten Festival 2011. Photos by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

The layout of the festival is intimate, allowing everyone to become friends at the long wooden tables under the pavilion. Last year, I sat next to a woman who was visiting from Germany, and she said the event was truly reminiscent of summer parties in her country.

The ambiance at Biergarten Festival is truly unique because they manage to create a cultural event without feeling forced or stilted. This isn’t Disney Germany – it’s as real as it gets in the foothills of Colorado.

green green rolling hills at biergarten festival in colorado

The view off the back of the TEV Edelweiss Pavilion. Biergarten Festival 2011.

This year’s band lineup includes Austrian Connection, Steve Rock (accordion), and Rick Borger and the Average German Band.

Chef Neuhold will provide the catering for this event. The menu includes schnitzel with fries, German sauerbraten with red cabbage and spätzle, beef goulash and spätzle, curry sausage with fries, German bratwurst with kraut, frankfurter with fries and cheese spätzle. Prices are $4 to $10. Pretzels and almonds will also be available.

On Saturday, there will be a bratwurst eating contest sponsored by Continental Sausage. They supplied the sausages for the eating contest at Denver Oktoberfest where Joey “Jaws” Chestnut consumed 38 bratwursts in eight minutes. Entry fee is $20 per participant, and you can enter the contest by emailing seeberg@gacc-co.org.

The Annual Biergarten Festival is a family event – bring the youngins and bring grandma. The shady children’s section has games and activities that will keep youngsters busy, and I’ve never met a kid who doesn’t love the chicken dance.

childrens area at biergarten festival colorado

The children's area at Biergarten Festival 2011.

Last, but certainly not least, Paulaner, a beer that has been around since 1634, is the “bier” of choice at this fest.

The 16th Annual Biergarten Festival is brought to you by the Colorado Chapter of the German-American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest. It runs Friday and Saturday, July 13 & 14. Admission is just $5 on Friday, $10 on Saturday, or $12 for a two-day pass. Children 12 and under are free. Festival organizers do ask that you RSVP to this event at BiergartenFest.com.

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