Henry 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.
Greeley Goes German: Community Celebrates Oktoberfest Traditions

Myers, Erik. "Greeley Goes German: Community Celebrates Oktoberfest Traditions." Mirror, 2 October 2006.

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.

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