Greeley Goes German: Community Celebrates Oktoberfest
Byerly, right, a German teacher at Frontier Academy, and Ryan
Jones, a senior finance and German major at UNC, cook bratwursts
to sell at Oktoberfest Saturday morning at Lincoln Park in
downtown Greeley. The annual event celebrates traditional
German heritage. Photo by Jesse Chaney.
Myers, Erik. "Greeley
Goes German: Community Celebrates Oktoberfest Traditions." Mirror, 2 October
Theres only one day of the year that Lincoln Park will be filled
with the wheeze of accordions, a strong sauerkraut scent and hundreds
of people from all over the state. This is the city of Greeleys
Oktoberfest celebration, and this year it was held on Saturday.
Those attending were treated to performances from local bands,
choirs and dance troupes, including the Volkstanz Gruppe Dancers,
who performed several time-honored German dances for the crowd while
dressed in traditional German garb.
Most of the food vendors available were rich with German cuisine.
Following in the ritual of the true German Oktoberfest, the festival
was beer-rich, with vendors offering multiple varieties of brews,
as well as beer stein races and beer pong contests.
Among those in attendance were the original producers of the festival,
the University of Northern Colorados German Club, which had set
up its own booth, selling bratwurst, potato salad and sauerkraut
to raise funds for future projects. A few members of the club had
spent nearly their entire day at Lincoln Park, including Ann Keller-Lally,
advisor for the club and German professor at UNC.
Keller-Lally had been involved with Oktoberfest long before this
morning, ranging back to 1995 when she was an undergraduate student
helping with the festival.
(The German Club) organized it all by ourselves, out in Island
Grove Park, Keller-Lally said. It started becoming really popular,
so we switched it over to the being the citys responsibility.
As for the purpose of the festival, Keller-Lally mentioned the
city of Greeley is imbedded with strong German heritage. The early
1900s were the years when Volga German farmers first began to immigrate
to the United States after being stripped of the living privileges
they had been granted by the Russian government. Not surprisingly,
thousands flocked to Weld County, a strong agricultural community
at the time. From that point on, German heritage has existed among
many of Greeleys residents.
Resident Sonja Stade was born and raised in Germany and said the
festival was an incredible opportunity to keep her German heritage
alive. Stade said she hoped the German presence would continue to
be felt throughout the years ahead.
It brings me home a little bit, because its one day out of the
year where you really celebrate Germany, nothing else. Stade said.
Please keep it up. Dont forget about the German heritage in Greeley,
because it goes back so many years.
Chris Meierotto, a senior German major involved with German Club,
said the festival was enjoyable, but somewhat misleading.
Its kind of a misrepresentation of the German festival. Here it
seems more like a celebration of fall than anything else, Meierotto
said. In Germany, there are rows and rows of tables set with people
drinking liter beers. Thats the big difference, besides the atmosphere
and the feeling behind it.
The entire German aspect behind the festival was not a concern
for Ray Schuster, who came with his wife to the festival from Windsor
so he could simply enjoy the food and the people.
We came here for the festivities: the music and the bratwurst and
the sauerkraut. Schuster said.
Reprinted with permission of the Mirror.