Sugar Mountain Resort’s Oktoberfest
What would October be without Oktoberfest—and at Sugar Mountain Resort?
With fall having fallen in Western North Carolina, traditions galore also unfold this month—including the annual Oktoberfest held at Sugar Mountain Resort, the immensely popular skiing destination located just outside Banner Elk. The second weekend of October typically brings the proverbial “autumn stage” of brilliant colors throughout the mountains, and for the past quarter-century, Sugar Mountain has positioned itself for an accompanying family-friendly celebration.
This year, during the weekend of October 8 and 9, the activities will begin each day at 10AM and run until 5PM. According to the organizers, there will be a children’s area in the ski school play yard, while craftspeople and food vendors will also be open at 10AM. Everyone will be able to sample traditional German fare such as knockwurst, bratwurst, German style potato salad, and apple strudel. (“Along with barrels and barrels of Spaten beer,” a press release advises.) Hot dogs and burgers, plus soft drinks and more, will be available, too, of course.
We are hands-on, constantly looking for ways to improve the existing services.”
Notes Kimberley Jochl, Sugar Mountain Resort vice president and director of marketing and merchandising, “Sugar’s Oktoberfest has been around for 26 years. We are hands-on, constantly looking for ways to improve the existing services, making additions the consumer would enjoy, and implementing conveniences our guests will appreciate, but maintaining the focus that an Oktoberfest must remain as genuine as possible. That’s why we sell Bavarian beer—straight from Munich, Germany—only.”
This extends to the music as well, with the 15-piece Harbour Towne Fest Band returning to serve up the traditional oom-pah brass and percussions sounds: Expect yodeling, accordions, and alpenhorns, all “encouraging the dances and the celebration of the Bavarian heart.” Also, expect at least one rousing rendition of “Ein Prosit” (“I Salute You”). Harbour Towne will perform on the main stage from 12PM to 4PM each day. Another annual tradition in recent years has been The Valle Crucis Middle School Band, which once again will be offering its own unique musical stylings that celebrate the spirit of the season.
Twenty-six years is a long time for any enterprise, successful or not, and Jochl quickly replies, “Weather!” when asked what challenges their Oktoberfest has had to overcome in the past. Poll any resident of the North Carolina mountains and they’ll tell you that predicting the weather in the region in October is a fool’s game. When attending the Sugar Mountain event, then, it’s advisable to come as prepared as the postman might: for wind, or rain, or sleet, or snow. Don’t forget to pack the lederhosen.
Jochl adds, however, that no matter the weather, the tradeoffs are definitely worth it, in particular the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the middle of autumn that one will get when riding to the top of the mountain via the new high-speed, six-seat chairlift, the Summit Express. That, plus “expanding to two days [and] growing the arts and crafts offerings,” says Jochl, helps make the Sugar Mountain Oktoberfest a must-attend event.
Details, along with special lodging discounts, at Oktoberfest.skisugar.com
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