Oktoberfest in Ruidoso

oktoberfest 2016
oktoberfest 2016
Some folks in festive costumes! Photo courtesy of Laura Doth

Oktoberfest 2016 in Ruidoso

Who would have imagined Oktoberfest would evolve into such a large world-wide celebration when King Ludwig I, of Bavaria, Germany, first proposed it in 1810 to honor his marriage to Princess Theresa? It started out as a horse race event but was such a huge success the king royally decreed October to be festival time and was commemorated in Munich, Germany.

It was temporarily suspended in 1813 due to Bavaria’s involvement in the Napoleonic Wars but in 1818 carnival booths appeared and in 1819 city fathers decided Oktoberfest should be an annual event. It has been temporarily cancelled other years because of wars, heavy inflation and two cholera epidemics.

Today, the 204th German Oktoberfest seven million visitors and local celebrants will devour an estimated five million liters of beer, 700,000 chickens and 400,000 sausages. It is the largest “people’s fair” in the world and has enthusiastically spread to countless cities across the globe.

This year, the mountain village of Ruidoso will observe its 35th annual Oktoberfest at the Ruidoso Convention Center, Oct. 14-15 (Friday and Saturday) for adults and children alike. It will be replete with all the expected cuisine and drink. Food booths will have the anticipated nourishments on hand – bratwurst, knockwurst, Polish Sausage and all will be served with sauerkraut. Some of the other edibles available include red cabbage, potato pancakes, Reuben sandwiches, soft pretzels and many other tantalizing delights.

More than 49 arts and crafts booths will be awaiting your pleasure. Three different bands playing German music will be in attendance – Die Polka Schlingel, Salzburger Echo and Swingshift. Start practicing your best polka dance step. Additionally, Ruidoso’s very own kinderhall will abound with multiple fun and games for the children. Visitors are encouraged to “dress accordingly.”

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Entertainers and traditional instruments. Photo courtesy of Laura Doth

Your appreciated participation will aid those in need. Since 1999, the Ruidoso Oktoberfest has been produced by Special Events Resource Group (SERG), a 501c3 non-profit New Mexico corporation dedicated to benefit and fund legitimate charities and educational scholarships for the youth of Lincoln County. Your local hosts for the Ruidoso Oktoberfest 2016 will be Mark and Laura Doth just as it has been for the past 17 years. “The first 200 children will be able to pick a pumpkin, decorate it and take the finished product home with them,” Laura Doth explained. “The kinderhall will have old fashioned carnival games – face painting, fishing games, et al. There will also be a Hondo fundraiser included. Our Oktoberfest 2016 is a community event to celebrate the fall season. In the past we have had 4,500 people attend the two day affair and we estimate 60 percent of them were from out of town. It is the second largest Oktoberfest in the state of New Mexico.”

Furthermore, Laura revealed that – since she and Mark have been hosting this event for the last 17 years – more than $195,000 has been given to Lincoln County Charities, which has helped, among others, the Volunteer Fire Department, mammograms, scholarships and other worthwhile causes. “This is very much a family affair,” Laura concluded. Many children are present.”

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Great looking costumes for Oktoberfest. Photo courtesy of Laura Doth

Friday hours will be from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. Saturday hours will be 12 noon until 11 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the door. For adults it will be $10 for the day or $18 for the two days. The cost for young adults – 13 to 18 years of age is $6 per day or $10 for two days. Children 12-or-under are admitted free but must be accompanied by an adult. Mark and Laura Doth may be reached at 575-257-6171 or for additional information you may go here.

The Rio Grande Grill and Tap Room will offer an Oktoberfest 2016 Beer and Wine five course dinner, replete with Oktoberfest pilsner beer, German wines (Gewurtztraminer and Spatburgunder German-style Pinot Noir), potato pancakes, Lentil soup, German sausages, Sauerbraten with red cabbage. Dessert will be apple crumble with vanilla bean ice cream paired with a Riesling wine. The dinner will be prepared by Chef Keith Weber who was trained at the Academy of Culinary Arts in Mays Landing, N.J. “The food is different and creates a buzz,” Weber said. “The Oktoberfest beer is eagerly anticipated and the out of town visitors are great for the businesses in Ruidoso.” The dinner will be on Tuesday, Oct. 11, and will start at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person, which includes tax and gratuity. For additional information you may call 575-808-8456.

—Michael Curran