The Spirited Crowds Of Fremont Oktoberfest 2011

A recap of Seattle’s annual celebration of German food, drink and culture.

Every year, a time-honored German tradition gets a Seattle makeover during Fremont Oktoberfest, a three-day salute to beer, bratwursts and lederhosen. The 2011 festivities, which took place last weekend, did not disappoint in the slightest, as revelers of all ages showed up ready to party and paraded down the streets in full German attire.

Live bands like the Staxx Brothers, Publish the Quest, and The Redwood Plan provided the live soundtrack, while the MOViN 92.5 Rehab Party created an electric atmosphere for all the ale-chugging and sausage-munching that took place.

Most patrons of legal drinking age headed straight for the tasting garden, where they sampled from a selection of more than 80 microbrews and German lagers. Other imbibers braved the Buxom Beer Garden, where they committed to servings as large as a liter of fine ale, served up in the festival’s infamously deep steins.

Beers from all over the world were poured throughout the weekend. Drinkable varieties included pilsners, hefeweizens, IPAs, reds and maibocks – and not to mention a very interesting pumpkin ale. Local beer barons that provided the liquid goods included big al brewing, Fremont Brewing Co., Laurelwood Brewing Co. and Pyramid Breweries (the latter of which hosted a tomato battle on Saturday afternoon).

Perhaps the biggest fan favorite this year (if a longer wait in line is any indication) was Trade Route Brewing Company’s Mango Weizen. Many men in tights were skeptical, but once the refreshing citrus ale hit their lips – it was game over.

No one celebrated more than UW fans on Saturday, who were able to watch the Dawgs claim victory over the Golden Bears from the Double Coverage Sport’s Lounge, sponsored by 97.3 KIRO/710 ESPN and furnished by CORT. Several breweries also had individual lounges for tired day-drinkers to rest their tired feet and gear up for special barrel tastings, chocolate pairings and fun with new friends. The lovely Mistica Wine Lounge was another treat for those who didn’t come for the brews – or were developing a barley overdose and needed a change of pace.

The weekend wasn’t all eat and drink, though. The crowd cheered during Saturday’s 5K, in which participants – several of them clinging to dog leashes and strung with baby harnesses — raced for a free brew. Happy parents brought their children to play in the kid’s corner, where the little ones enjoyed pumpkin carving, face painting and festive fall games and prizes. Big kids enjoyed watching the Texas Chainsaw Pumpkin Carving, in which local artists competed for the title — and spectators dodged orange chunks and slimy seeds.

Sunday was a more family-oriented day, as Friday/Saturday Oktoberfesters slept off their hangovers. Families participated in the Street Scramble, searching for hidden treasures throughout the Fremont neighborhood. Many patrons also spent the day celebrating with their pooch during the Dogtoberfest events. All pups were welcome to tag along in the beer gardens, and participate in City Dog Magazine’s Cover Dog modeling contest. Man’s best friend could drink freely in the Dogtoberfest lounge — distilled water samplings, of course.

Once again, Fremont Oktoberfest was celebrated with cheerful crowds, generous volunteers, and beer-filled stomachs. Luckily, this was merely the first such festival to hit our city this fall — so stay tuned for more Oktoberfest-related events.