Featured Festival: Denver Christkindl Market

A grand welcome to the market by Ms. Laura Kantwerk.

A grand welcome to the market by Ms. Laura Kantwerk. Photos by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

It seems rather appropriate for the Mayor of a place called HeidiTown to have a connection to the German Chamber of Commerce – Colorado Chapter. Full disclosure: This organization has been advertising their events with HeidiTown for a while now and it’s a match made in heaven.

This organization puts together well-organized and top-notch events that I am more than happy to slap my endorsement on. Their Biergarten Festival is a summer party my husband and I look forward to every year.

The GACC-CO’s winter event is the Denver Christkindl Market. In operation for 12 years, this year there’s a new look, but the market hasn’t lost its intimate, European feel.

Christkindl markets have deep roots in Germany where the oldest recorded Christmas market dates back to 1310 in Munich. Held in front of churches, the markets were often part of a person’s church visit. Today, these markets are still held in town squares across Germany.

Tour the Denver Christkindl Market to find unique, handmade gifts for nearly everyone on your list. I found lots of knit hats and beautiful artisan jewelry that I’d love to find under the tree this Christmas.

Pastries at the Denver Christkindl Market

Pastries at the Denver Christkindl Market.

The best part of the market, in my illustrious opinion, is the food and the beer/entertainment tent. I’d recommend coming hungry, having some delicious European-style food and a beer or two and then going shopping.

While we were visiting the beer tent last weekend, the Chalet Dancers from Castle Rock were peforming and their authentic German dances impressed the crowd, me included. Under the tent you’ll find a full lineup of entertainment on the weekday evenings and weekends.

Sipping a beer or gluehwein (spiced wine), you’ll be transported to a different time and place, and this is what I love the most about the Denver Christkindl Market and the Biergarten Festival – it’s a chance to experience a little German culture right here in Colorado. Our state is rich with German heritage, but we don’t always get a chance to see it, taste it and feel it in action. I applaud the German Chamber of Commerce – Colorado Chapter for keeping this culture alive and well.

Keep in mind that the market is a wonderful event for children – from entertainment to delicious pastries, make the Denver Christkindl Market a part of their childhood memories this Christmas.

chalet dancers at Denver Christkindl Market

Chalet Dancers from Castle Rock, Colorado.

Denver Christkindl Market

Skyline Park (16th & Arapaho)

November 23 to December 22, 2012

Sunday – Wednesday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Thursday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Join the Denver Christkindl Market on Facebook

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

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

What’s happening in Colorado, May 18-20, 2012 (HeidiTown’s Radio Show)

It’s time for another segment on KRFC 88.9 FM, and this weekend is full of Colorado festivals you won’t want to miss. In fact, you may want to clone yourself – and if you figure out how to do that, please share, because I am in desperate need of a clone or two this summer!

If you’d rather listen to the audio from my radio show, just click HERE, but if you prefer to utilize your reading skills, the transcripts are below.  ENJOY!  And don’t forget to let me know about that cloning idea.


Heidi & Ryan 3

Ryan & Heidi at a Colorado Rapids game.

Hi, my name is Heidi and I’m the Mayor of, a blog about festivals, events and destinations around Colorado. That’s right, if you’ve been listening for awhile, you might have noticed the change to my tagline. I’ve replaced travel with the word destinations, and now new banners have been made – look for them at a festival near you this summer!

I thought I’d take a minute this week to tell you a little about myself. I’m a freelance writer and small business owner here in Colorado. Originally a West Coast girl from the Pacific Northwest, I’ve lived in Colorado for 13 years. On May 18, 2002, I married a guy who grew up in Littleton. Yes, we celebrate 10 years of marriage this weekend – happy anniversary, Ryan!

Heidi & Ryan 2

Ryan & Heidi at Rocky Mountain Irish Festival.

I started in 2007, as a review blog, but in 2010, I found my niche was blogging about festivals and events. is not a calendar, but rather “stuff the Mayor likes” and I like small town festivals and unique events. Hundreds, if not thousands of events occur all over Colorado every weekend, especially during the summer – and I highlight the things that catch my attention.

So now – on to the show!

In past segments I’ve already previewed some of what is happening around Colorado this weekend, May 18 through the 20th, 2012. So I want to remind you that it’s Wild Wild West Days in Pueblo and Mike the Headless Chicken Festival is in Fruita this weekend.

Ryan & Heidi 1

Ryan & Heidi at Biergarten Festival.

On Saturday and Sunday, it’s the Strawberry Festival Antique Show in Longmont. Started almost forty years ago, as a way to raise money for the St. Vrain Historical Society, this event has developed into a popular and well-respected antique show drawing thousands of attendees. Enjoy freshly made strawberry shortcake while browsing antiques in the Exhibit Building at the Boulder County Fairgrounds on Nelson Road in Longmont. For hours and info on the Strawberry Festival Antique Show go to

A unique cultural event is happening at The Fort in Morrison, Colorado this weekend. It’s the 12th Annual Indian Market and Powwow presented by the Tesoro Cultural Center. Native American artists will display their wares and demonstrate their crafts. Dancers and drummers will share their heritage in competitions, and there will also be a powwow contest in the valley below The Fort. I am very familiar with this area, and it is a beautiful setting for this event. Learn more at That’s

Ryan & Heidi 4

Ryan & Heidi at the 1940s WWII Ball.

For those of you in Northern Colorado, here’s an event close to home. This weekend it’s Jazz Fest and Art Walk in downtown Estes Park. This event has grown over its twenty year existence into a two-day jazz extravaganza, featuring national and regional musicians. Eight jazz groups are scheduled to perform with two headliner acts. Go to for the lineup of performers.

Right here in Fort Collins, the downtown Farmers Market gets underway this weekend. The Larimer County Farmers’ Market is one of the oldest in Colorado. It runs Saturdays 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. from May 19 through October 27. So bike downtown and make a day of it!

Also, starting this Friday in Fort Collins, it’s the Ben & Jerry’s FAC Concert Series. Music runs from 7 to 9 p.m. on the Old Town Square Stage. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy this event every Friday through August 17th. This week’s band is The Backline.

For more information on this and other Old Town events, go to

Heidi & Ryan 6

Ryan & Heidi at the Bucksnort Saloon in Pine, CO.

The Butterfly Pavilions in Westminster, Colorado has been on my mind lately. This is a fun outing with the family, but as I’ve said before, it isn’t only for kids. This weekend it’s Bloomapalooza at the Butterfly Pavilions on Saturday from 10 to 5. It’s a celebration of Plant Conservation Day. There will be giveaways, workshops, planting projects, a kids play area and The Garden Center of Colorado will be taking all your old gardening trays, cell packs and pots to be recycled. For additional details on Bloomapalooza, go to

Lastly it’s Taste of Durango this Sunday. I love this region of Colorado because the scenery is breathtaking. This would be a great weekend to make Durango your Colorado destination. Learn more at

There are lots of other amazing events happening this weekend around Colorado, but you’ll have to tune into the blog and HeidiTown’s Facebook page for more. Be sure to join our block party at

If you are on Twitter, you can follow me @HeidiTown, or if you are a Google Plus fan, circle the town!

Thanks so much for listening. Until next week, I will see you online!

Two topnotch Oktoberfests in Colorado

Greeley Oktoberfest Colorado

The Polka Nuts kept the crowds dancing at the Greeley Oktoberfest 2010. Photo by R.T. Schlaefer.

For the past several weeks I’ve done a lot of chatting about Oktoberfests, and this is because I think, when done right, they are such fun and unique festivals.

There are two Oktoberfests fast approaching that I want to bring to your attention. You will not find an eighties cover band headlining these fests, because both work to provide authentic Oktoberfest experiences that embrace and emphasize Northern Colorado’s rich German heritage.

Last year I attended the Greeley Oktoberfest for the first time, and was impressed. It’s a large event, occurring over two days. This year, the festival runs this weekend,  September 23-24, 2011.

Read all about the Greeley Oktoberfest here.

The 1st Annual Berthoud Oktoberfest is being held October 1, in the darling town of Berthoud, Colorado. Located just 40 minutes from Denver and just 10 minutes south of Loveland, Berthoud is steeped in German heritage.

Read all about the Berthoud Oktoberfest here.



Oktoberfests in Colorado

Oktoberfest celebration in Colorado mug of beerGot a craving for a big beer and some polka music? You are in luck!

The Mayor of HeidiTown loves a good Oktoberfest, so I’ve created a list of all the festivals around Colorado.

From Durango to Berthoud, from Steamboat Springs to Lamar, all across the state Coloradoans will be celebrating German heritage with beer, brats and polka. Festivals run September though October.

Find out where to join in the fun by clicking here for the entire list. Prost!

Prost! It’s time for über fun!

September is in full swing and so are Colorado Oktoberfest celebrations. Some have already occurred, but here are a few festivals where you can practice your chicken dance and drink beer from a giant mug. Don’t forget the lederhosen!

Oktoberfest Denver, September 17-19 and 24-26: This will be the 41st year for this Oktoberfest that was named one of the best festivals in the nation by USA Today. It also holds the record for being one of the largest Oktoberfests in the country. Thousands come out for this festival that is modeled after Munich, Germany’s famous Oktoberfest.

Like many cities across the United States Denver boasts a strong German heritage with many of the city’s first bars being open by German immigrants. Oktoberfest Denver includes live music, a 5K race, a Kid Carnival, Oktoberfest Olympics, a dog derby, costume contest and, of course, lots of beer. This year’s beer sponsor is Sam Adams. Admission to this event is free. For a full schedule visit

16th Annual Breckenridge Oktoberfest, September 17-19: Unlike some of the other Oktoberfest, this festival features authentic German Paulaner beer, one of my favorites. The festival is held on picturesque Main Street, with traditional costumes, German food, Oompa and polka music, Bavarian dancers, children’s activities, a keg-tapping ceremony, a 5K run and more. Admission to Breckenridge Oktoberfest cost $5. For more information visit

Greeley’s Oktoberfest 2010, September 24-25: I have it on good authority (an accordion player) that this is an awesome small town Oktoberfest. Greeley, Colorado is steeped in German heritage, and the town has been celebrating Oktoberfest since 1971.

The festival is held in historic Lincoln Park and features everything from polka music to a rye bread bakeoff. In addition there will be a brat toss, a beer barrel roll race, and even a life size beer pong tournament (this I have to see).

Admission is free to Greeley’s Oktoberfest. Bring the entire family and enjoy a day of the live music, dancing, beer and yummy German food. For a schedule visit downtown Greeley online.

If you need to brush up on your  Chicken Dance skills, here’s a little instructional video from the Lawrence Welk  Show:

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