Beer, brats, leg wrestling and … grown men in leather shorts and suspenders — what could be better?
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — If there’s anyone in Summit County who has the chops to put on an Oktoberfest, it’s probably Andy Grogger. Along with having worked at one of the famed chicken-grilling emporiums at the real Oktoberfest in Munich, the Austrian-born chef exudes an exuberant portion of Gemütlichkeit, that magical quality of relaxed friendliness that’s probably the main ingredient needed to pull off a successful beer festival.
This year, Grogger is expanding Frisco’s version of the international bash to three days, beginning Friday evening at 6 p.m. with music by the Polkanauts, billed as a polka-meets-death metal band. The event continues Saturday and Sunday (12 p.m. to 10 p.m.) at the Frisco Peninsula Recreation Area (at the Frisco Nordic Center) with live music, leg wrestling, as well as beer-stein-holding and nail-driving contests. Check out the Frisco Oktoberfest Facebook page.
And, of course,there’s plenty beer from Munich’s renowned Paulaner brewery, along with home-cooked Bavarian specialties like brats, roast pork, schnitzel, sauerkraut, strudel and Grogger’s famed Knödel (dumplings). Visit the Munich Oktoberfest online here.
Live music each day includes offerings from Those Austrian Guys, a local band that plays all the beer-drinking classics with a special flair and adds in their own unique musical stylings.
Oktoberfest has become one of those global touchstones of the modern world, a cultural thread that’s based on a very regional tradition, but still manages to transcend political and ideological boundaries. Anyone who’s been to the event in Munich will tell you that one of its hallmarks is the mingling of nationalities, all trying to sing along to the same song — well, all except the Aussis and the Kiwis, who have a checkered history of facing off against each other in the Hofbraü tent.
The original version in Munich began as a public celebration of a royal wedding. Those monarchs knew their subjects well, and figured that opening the taps for two weeks in late summer and early fall would help keep the natives from becoming restless. Since then, the fest has become one of the world’s biggest tourist attractions. Some people may scoff at the many spin-off Oktoberfests that are held around the world each year, but I see it as an homage to something that’s much bigger than any one city or country.
And it’s a chance for grown men to wear leather shorts with suspenders — what could be better than that?
Frisco Oktoberfest 2010 slideshow
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