October is coming to a close, but no matter; as per tradition, Pats Peak will hold its annual Octoberfest on Sunday, Nov. 2.
“We always host it on the first Sunday of November,” said Lori Rowell, director of marketing and sales at Pats Peak. “It’s kind of interesting to see an Octoberfest celebration in November, but the season actually stretches from September all the way to November.”
According to Rowell, the event coincides every year with the annual ski and snowboard sale that the ski resort hosts. Combining the two is Pats Peak’s way of saying goodbye to fall while getting people psyched up for the winter season.
Octoberfest will include a variety of activities that will seem as though they were imported straight from Deutschland. Rowell said the festival will feature a variety of classic German foods including knockwurst, bratwurst, hot German pasta and German desserts.
The ski resort will also be hosting a beer garden courtesy of the Harpoon Brewery. Along with a number of its year-round beers, Harpoon is featuring its seasonal brews like Octoberfest, Munich Dark and Hard Cider.
There will be steins for sale so all beer-drinking attendees can enjoy the holiday beer the right way. For those who are looking for a wider selection of brews, Rowell said, the Sled Pub will be open in the lodge.
King Ludwig’s Bavarian Band will be providing the live entertainment for the afternoon. Rowell said the band is an “oom-pah-pah” band, which plays music that is most associated with the German culture.
“They’ve been the band that has played the festival every year,” she said. “They’ve got the big horns, and they clap the skis, an accordion player. It’s very festive.”
To complement the German-themed event, the Edmunds Hardware Woods show will feature lumberjacks showing off their chops in wood-themed events such as axe-throwing and hot saw. The Timberart Chainsaw Sculpture show will see chainsaw artists revving up their engines for some on-the-spot art. In the past, Rowell said, the artists have made bears and bald eagles.
The festival will also feature several kids activities to make it a family-friendly event, including spin art, pumpkin painting, donut dangle, keg bowling, bounce houses, face painting and more.
Other premier events at the festival include demonstrations from the North East Ski Joring Association: a ski joring demo and a mounted shooting demo.
Ski joring is similar to land-based water skiing. Geoff Smith, president of the Northeast Ski Joring Association, said ski joring relies on a three-part team: a horse, a rider and a skier.
“The horse and the rider will pull the skier around the course, allowing the skier to go over jumps and around gates,” said Smith.
It’s usually a winter sport, but, Smith said, it is not entirely uncommon to see joring in the off season. Smith has also done joring on the pavement with roller skates and, like he will be doing at Octoberfest, riding on skis on a dirt platform.
The horses typically pull the riders up to 50 mph during the snow season, but because joring on land is more of a challenge, the speed is cut in half and there aren’t any jumps for the skiers.
“It seemed like a good chance to catch some preseason skiers,” said Smith. “We wanted to show them how to utilize skis in a different way and introduce a new type of sport. We want to simulate as close as possible what it would look like out in the winter.”
The NESJA will also have a mounted shooting demonstration, where riders on horses will shoot at balloons with revolvers filled with black powder ‒ or what Smith calls “audience-friendly ammunition.”
“All the demonstrations are non-competition based,” he said. “We’re there for the audience participation. The cheers make the horses run faster, and it’s fun to see horses out there doing these kinds of activities. Plus, who doesn’t love horses?”
As seen in the October 30, 2014 issue of the Hippo.