LAKE PLACID - The cooler fall weather is bringing with it several cool festivals to the Olympic Village over the next two weekends.
Starting the lineup will be the 21st annual Oktoberfest that will take place Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29-30 at Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington. Famous for its German music and cuisine, Oktoberfest attendees can expect to find lederhosen, an oompah band - and of course German beer.
The history of Oktoberfest can betraced to a royal wedding in Germany on Oct. 12, 1810, in which the citizens of Munich were invited to join in on the celebration. Oktoberfest started in Lake Placid in 1978 with the help of Birgit Schulte, originally of Hamburg, Germany, who was the chairwoman of the event in its first year. The festival was held in the Lussi Rink at the Olympic Center and featured authentic German food, dancing and music. Since then, the festivities have moved to Whiteface Mountain and the two-day event attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Oktoberfest has become synonomous with the onset of the fall season here in the Adirondacks - and locals and visitors alike look forward to the festive atmosphere it brings. One such resident is Lake Placid News columnist Frank Shatz, who grew up in Eastern Europe. He said that the event provides him with a great opportunity to enjoy the culture of his homeland.
"I am often asked why my wife and I go, year-after-year to the Octoberfest," Shatz said. "Part of the answer is that like it was the case for Marcel Proust, 'remembrance for things past,' has a personal appeal. We both grew up in pre-World War II Czechoslovakia, in a country that had a sizable German minority.
"Octoberfest, was a tradition. Listening to the music, watching the lady-dancers in their 'dirndlis' and men in their 'lederhosens,' brings back memories from the past."
But Oktoberfest at Whiteface is more than just Bavarian food and drink - the event has been crafted for the entire family, with activities including original vendors, arts and crafts, children's amusement rides including a hayride and inflatables.
"ORDA deserves a lot of credit for staging, year-after-year, an Octoberfest that provides so much pleasure to so many local people and to visitors from far away," Shatz said.
One of the main features of Oktoberfest is the music, and here are the headliners:
Die Schlauberger will perform under the entertainment tent outside the base lodge each day and Ed Schenk on the accordion. The Cloudspin Lounge will also feature music from Schachtelgebirger Musikanten and performing at their forth Oktoberfest will be Spitze and The Alpen Trio.
As one of America's premiere German bands, die Schlauberger will perform German favorites and other tunes. Spitze will perform an alpine show that features cowbells, the alpine xylophone, and the alphorn and yodeling, while the Alpen Trio will greet Cloudsplitter Gondola passengers at the summit of Little Whiteface with the alphorns (weather permitting).
Schachtelgebirger Musikanten is making their eighth appearance at the Whiteface Oktoberfest, and will perform in the Cloudspin Lounge on Saturday and on Sunday.
Other entertainment to be found during the festival include the Alpenland Taenzer, nominated and accepted as members of the "Gauverband Nordamerica," a nationally and internationally known organization promoting German Heritage throughout the United States and Canada, and "Kindergruppe," composed of 8-10 couples ages 3-19.
If you go...
Oktoberfest will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $9 for juniors and seniors and gondola rides are $13.
Note: a complimentary shuttle service will be provided both days, with departure from the Olympic Center Box Office will be 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Departure from Whiteface to Lake Placid takes place at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. (Saturday only and 5 p.m. (Sunday only).
From Wilmington pick-ups are at noon both days with the return shuttle leaving Whiteface at 5 p.m.
For more information, call 523-1655.
The first-ever Lake Placid Brew Fest is scheduled from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6 in the Olympic Center's 1932 Rink. The event is open to everyone 21 years and older, and will feature 20 micro-brew companies from around the country including Crossroads Brewing Company, Davidson Brothers, Kona Brewing Company, Magic Hat, Shock Top and Switchback Brewing Company, to name a few.
Each of the breweries will be on hand to offer samples and talk about brewing. There will also be live music and food.
If you go ...
Advance $35 tickets for the Brew Fest are available online by visiting www.whiteface.com/brewfest or by calling 518-523-3330. Tickets will also be available at the door for $40 and admission for designated drivers is $10.
The Brew Fest is co-hosted by the Great Adirondack Brewing Company and Lake Placid Pub & Brewery.
Flaming Leaves Festival
The annual Flaming Leaves Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 6-7 at the Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid. The event is geared toward the entire family and will include live blues music, barbeque food, lawn games, a horseshoe tournament, make your own tie dye t-shirt (bring your own shirt or buy one there), craft market, Henna Tattoos - along with some of the country's best ski jumpers flying off the 90-meter ski jump.
A chairlift will take visitors to the base of the 120-meter ski jump, to a 26-story elevator ride to the top of the jump.
This year's festival will also play host to the second event in the 2012 Art Devlin Cup series. Miles Lussi, of Lake Placid, enters the competition as the leader in the chase for the prestigious cup after winning the jump on the Fouth of July. He'll face off against other jumpers during Saturday's, Oct. 6, competition.
The blues begins at noon Saturday. Lostdog takes the stage for their first of two sets, noon to 1 p.m. and 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday's lineup also features Joe Lowry & The Second City Mile Blues Band, from Albany from 1 to 2 p.m. and 3 to 4 p.m.
On Sunday, performing will be Los Blancos, from Syracuse and Larry Stone & The Stoneground Express' turn. Los Blancos will perform from noon to 1 p.m. and from 2-3 p.m. Larry Stone will play from 1 to 2 p.m. and 3 to 4 p.m.
If you go...
The annual Flaming Leaves Festival is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days and admission is $15 for adults and $9 for juniors and seniors. Two-day passes are also available, $25 for adults and $15 for juniors and seniors. The Olympic Sites Passport will also be honored for admission.
For more information about the aforementioned festivals, visit /www.whiteface.com.