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Oktoberfest returns to Niwot

After a two-year hiatus, Oktoberfest returned to Cottonwood Square on Saturday, Sept. 30. The festivities kicked off at 11 a.m. with a Nerf Animal Shooting Gallery for kids and adults alike. The inflatable animals included bears, deer and wild boar that could be "shot at" with a Nerf bow and arrow. The shooting gallery was run by the Niwot Rotary Club.

Music started at 12:30 p.m. with the aptly named Wurst Case Scenario playing some fun German themed "Weird Al Yankovic" style music. The ever-present and always popular Niwot Community Semi-Marching Free Grange "Polka" Band entertained at 3 p.m. They made sure they hit all the popular polka tunes along with "drinking" songs, including "In Heaven There Is No Beer (That's Why We Drink It Here)," "Beer Barrel Polka," and a "Margaritaville" tribute to Jimmy Buffett.

The evening's entertainment was rounded out at 5 p.m. by repeat performers, Denver's Thirsty 5, the traditional "oompah" band that played at The Wheel House for the 2021 Oktoberfest. Most recently they played at Fritz Family Brewers for Fritztoberfest on Sept. 23 and at Fritz's two-year anniversary on July 22.

The band, formed in 2017, features two clarinets, a trumpet, trombone and, of course, a tuba (what oompah band would be complete without a tuba?). Denver's Thirsty 5 entertained the crowd with popular polka hits (wink wink) "Old Accordionist Waltz," "Tummy Ache Polka," and "Sometimes Only Polka." They truly left no polka stone unturned. The band is always popular in the fall and has played dozens of Oktoberfest events this year alone. Polka dancing was encouraged throughout the event.

Niwot's Oktoberfest was sponsored by the Niwot Cultural Arts Association (NCAA), the Niwot Local Improvement District (LID), DRF Real Estate and Liana Pomeroy of CrossCountry Mortgage in Niwot.

Gene Hayworth, co-owner of Inkberry Books and Kathy Trauner, owner of Fly Away Home Decor, served as event champions. As with any Niwot event, it wouldn't happen without volunteers. And Hayworth said they showed up in force for Oktoberfest. "We put out a request for volunteers and it was amazing how many people replied," he said. "There was really great community support for the event."

Hayworth said help came from all areas, with the Niwot Community Association (NCA) road crew and Chris Teta, Rock & Rails site manager, putting up and taking down all of the fencing for the event. Vicki Maurer of the NCAA organized volunteers to staff the beer tent, and Doug Miller and Lee Shaw of the Community Semi-Marching Band set up the stage, while Mark Teboe and Satir DeMarco added the lights.

Hayworth said, "I wanted to give a special shout-out to Elizabeth Riegel. She came to our meetings and did everything from supplying tents and tables to even Nerf equipment. We couldn't have pulled this off without her."

Trauner said the last time Niwot hosted Oktoberfest was in 2021, but, she said, "It was in a totally different format. There were events on 2nd Avenue and in Cottonwood Square." But she indicated, she thinks people enjoy having somewhere "central to enjoy the event."

In addition to the music, beer from Fritz Family Brewers was available for purchase from the NCAA, which was a perfect Oktoberfest match as Fritz specializes in German style suds. Their Fritztoberfest Marzen was one of the six beers served at the event. Taste of Poland food truck provided munchies and restaurants in Cottonwood Square filled up early and continued to serve food and beverages throughout the event.


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