The mountain air in Morrision last weekend was full of the sounds of polka, the clanking of beer steins and the smell of fresh-made bratwurst.
Denver’s Biergarten Festival, sponsored by the Colorado chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce, brought the feel of a Munich Biergarten to the foothills as a way to help celebrate German culture, said chamber President Fred Beisser. The chamber’s goal is to promote business and cultural ties between Colorado and Germany.
Beisser, one of many decked out in traditional German Lederhosen, said the Biergarten tradition started in the 1800s and continues in Germany today.
“People would come on Sundays with their families and sit underneath the large trees the breweries planted,” Beisser said. “Even today, you can just go, bring a picnic and grab a seat at any table. Everyone is friendly.”
Audrey Karinen attended the festival on Sunday with her mother, Helen, who was celebrating her 89th birthday a day early by enjoying some apple liquor and some dancing.
“We’ve been here the last three years. It’s nice because it’s not in the city, and it’s not too big,” Audrey Karinen said. “You can just sit in the beer garden, talk to people and listen to the music.”
While there was a full dance floor Sunday, more than a few visitors took advantage of two television sets to watch the German soccer team beat Argentina for the World Cup.
“Our son-in-law loves all things Germany, and he wants them to win so badly,” said Wally Ogle of Colorado Springs, who was there with his family.
Nancy Ogle, Wally’s wife, said this past weekend’s festival was a nice change of pace from the Oktoberfest festival in Colorado Springs that typically draws 2,500 people over a three-day period.
“It’s small, but it’s been great,” Nancy Ogle said. “It’s good music, good food and the Chicken Dance. It’s been really fun.”