Six can’t-miss Oktoberfest parties, from Denver to Longmont to Vail

There is perhaps no better place in the world to enjoy autumn than Colorado. From the classic fall weather and the changing leaves to the scent of green chile and butternut squash soup, it’s almost impossible not to revel in the season. Even better? The Oktoberfest parties that bring with them food, music, fun and the crisp German-style marzen lagers and festbiers.

Here are six of our favorite Oktoberfest festivals where you can hoist beers in big steins, eat pretzels and bratwurst, listen to oompah music and play traditional games.

Copper Kettle Oktoberfest

Sept. 8-9: Copper Kettle Brewing gets the party started this weekend with the return of its annual two-day Oktoberfest celebration. The craft brewery will tap three German-style beers: Oktoberfest Lager, Dunkel Lager and Hefeweizen. There also will be live music (from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday and from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday); hammerschlagen both days; German food; and a dirndl and lederhosen contest on Saturday. One-liter steins will be available for purchase.

1338 S. Valentia St., Denver;

Vail Oktoberfest

Sept. 8-10 and Sept. 15-17: Vail already models itself after the Alpen towns of Germany and Switzerland, so it makes sense that this Colorado ski destination’s Bavarian-style Oktoberfest parties would be on point. The first weekend takes place in Vail’s Lionshead Village Sept. 8-10 and includes live German music and Bavarian dancers, German food and beer, performances and multiple contests, like keg bowling, bratwurst eating, stein hoisting and  costume competitions. The second weekend takes place in Vail Village Sept. 15-17 and includes all of the same.

Vail Lionshead Village and Vail Village;

The annual tapping of the fasser during Oktoberfest at Bierstadt Lagerhaus in Denver. (Staff photo/Jonathan Shikes)

Bierstadt Oktoberfest

Sept. 16. Bierstadt Lagerhaus has no patience for your early Oktoberfest parties and your seasonal creep, which is why the highly lauded brewery waits until the beginning of the holiday in Munich every year to host its own version in Denver. So, on Sept. 16, Bierstadt will tap its marzen lager (the ceremonial tapping of the fasser takes place at noon) and invites locals to don their lederhosen or dirndls for a full-fledged blowout. There will be traditional German eats, live music, stein hoisting, axe throwing and hammerschlagen.

2875 Blake St., Denver;

Breckenridge Oktoberfest

Sept. 15-17: Oktoberfest is a time-honored tradition not just in Munich, but in Breckenridge as well. OK, perhaps a little less time, but the party still goes back 27 years in the historic mountain town, which hosts its three-day festival Friday through Sunday. You’ll find plenty of German food and other festival fare, along with beers from Breckenridge Brewery and Broken Compass Brewing. There also will be stein hoisting, live music, costume contests and more.

Main Street, Breckenridge;

Oktoberfest on Sept. 29, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Seth McConnell, Special to the Denver Post)

Denver Oktoberfest

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Sept. 22-24 and Sept. 19-Oct. 1: The oldest and one of the largest Oktoberfest parties in Colorado, Denver Oktoberfest returns for its 53rd year of partying in the streets. Set up in the Ballpark neighborhood, where parts of Larimer Street will be closed, the event runs over the course of two, three-day weekends and includes tons of German food — brats, sausage, pretzels and more — along with beer, competitive stein hoisting, keg bowling, polka music, chicken dancing, a wiener dog derby, costumes and more.

21st and Larimer streets, Denver;

Left Hand Brewing Oktoberfest

Sept. 29-30: Left Hand Brewing makes one of the best marzen lagers in Colorado — rich, bready and warming — so it’s no surprise that the Longmont brewery’s annual two-day Oktoberfest party has just as much character. The family-friendly event includes live music, stein holding, brat eating and costume contests. Tickets are $10 on Friday and $20 on Saturday, and proceeds from ticket and merchandise sales and parking will benefit local nonprofits.

1245 Boston Ave., Longmont;

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