Highlands Ranch Oktoberfest on tap this weekend

Belated Fourth of July fireworks show to cap event

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Bratwurst, beer, music, dancing, beer, dachshund races, games for kids of all ages, beer ... it must be time for Oktoberfest again.

The popular, all-day festival, slated for Sept. 21 in Town Center South, will bring out the German in everyone, including the dogs. The free event will begin with a ceremonial tapping of the keg at noon, and all present and of age will receive their first taste on the house as they are invited to participate in a traditional German toast.

From there, beers will cost $5 per pint. Attendees can also enjoy sipping their suds from a 17-ounce commemorative stein that will be available for purchase on site.

Traditional fare from Helga’s German Restaurant will be available for purchase all day and beers will once again be provided by Paulaner. The festival will close down at 10 p.m., and those who make it to last call can enjoy this year’s postponed Highlands Ranch Fourth of July fireworks show, which is scheduled for 9:30.

Expect to hear some German music throughout the day, and without a doubt, there will be a whole lot of polka going on. A family-friendly affair, according to HRCA spokeswoman Jamie Noebel, there will be bounce houses, balloon artists, carnival games, inflatables, a magician and more for the kids.

Nothing is more fun for the whole family than the dogs, she said. And for those who wish to get their dogs involved in the festivities, there will be prizes for the three fastest dachshunds, as well as the best-dressed dog.

“All dogs can dress up in their finest German attire for the contest,” said Noebel, adding that more than 40 dachshunds and “dachshund wannabes” participated in last year’s races, running in heats of four.

“It really is so fun,” she said. “It is the shortest, fastest race you can imagine. The track is so short, just 30 feet long, and the dogs get so overwhelmed with everyone yelling, they start jumping lanes.”

And while running with the dogs isn’t encouraged, for those who want to get a workout in before the party starts, there is a 5K run/100-yard dash at 8:30 a.m. Strollers and dogs are allowed in the race, and keeping with the theme of Oktoberfest, for those who show ID when picking up their bibs, there will also be an opportunity to indulge in a free 10-ounce pour before sprinting the final 100 yards of the run. 

For more information on the festival, as well as the 5K run — which starts and finishes at the intersection of Ridgeline and Dorchester — please visit www.hrcaonline.org or call 303-471-8870.

And don’t leave your lederhosen at home!