Rain can’t douse Oktoberfest fun

Gabriele Mayer-Hunke stays out of the weather at the Octobertfest in Downtown Grand Junction. She is wearing an authentic costume called a Dirndl which Germans wear during the festival.

Oktoberfest patrons said the taste and the feel of the festival Saturday topped last year’s festival by far.

“This is much more comfortable,” Palisade resident Denny Thompson, 33, said of the weather, even though rain drizzled throughout the day.

“The food is awesome, the beers are good, people are really friendly,” said Cody Wells, 40, of Grand Junction, adding he thought this year’s actual Oktoberfest beer tasted better than last year’s.

“I like that the bier garten is right there where you walk in.”

The setup was such that, in anticipation of rain, the beer and the brats were not as far from each other as they were in years past.

Several dozen dachshunds were on hand to compete in the midafternoon Weiner Dog Race, a first-time event at the annual festival.

Melanie Doody, 54, got her 2-year-old Hogan signed up, but she hesitated to sign up her more excitable 10-month-old Harmonee, a miniature dachshund who barked at all passersby.

“I have no idea what he’s going to do,” Doody said of Hogan. “He might race; he might go the opposite way. He sure loves to tear through the yard, so we’ll see how this goes.”

More than 40 had signed their dogs up to compete by 1:30 p.m. for the contest sponsored by radio station 95 Rock. About six dogs in each heat competed on a 40-foot artificial-turf track.

One festival-goer dressed her dog in a hotdog costume. Doody’s wore a shirt that said, “My daddy is a biker.”

“She’s going to kick butt,” said George Del Torro, 48, whose friend was signing up her dog, Lily.

“She’s quick. She’s agile. She’s ambitious. You let her loose, she’ll run. You’ll never catch her.”

Roxi, a deejay from 95 Rock, said dachshunds are a big part of her family.

Dachshunds and Labrador retrievers seem to be the most popular dogs to own in Grand Junction, she said.

“We thought since it’s a German dog and it’s Oktoberfest, it would be fun,” Roxi said. “I think what we’ll do is start a weiner dog club after this. We have everyone’s information.”

Winning dogs received gift baskets for themselves and their owners.


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