Prosit! It’s time to drink and be merry at Oktoberfest in Red River. The event draws 5,000 to 6,000 people each year.
The festival, from Friday, Oct. 11, through Sunday, Oct. 13, will showcase 19 New Mexico breweries, distilleries and wineries. They include The 377 Brewery, Abbey Brewing Co., Black’s Smuggler Winery, Blu Dragonfly Brewing, Comanche Creek Brewing Co., Las Nueve Ninas Winery, Left Turn Distilling, Lost Hiker Brewing Co., Noisy Water Winery, Red Door Brewing Co., Red River Brewing Co., Rio Suave Vineyard, Sheehan Winery, Starr Brothers Brewing Co.,Wicked Kreations Winery.
Attendees ages 21 and older can purchase a bundle ticket for $20 that includes seven tastings from the breweries, wineries or distilleries, a commemorative stein, and admission to the festival all weekend. When guests have finished their seven tastings, they can purchase pints of beer, glasses of wine or cocktails.
There are plenty more Oktoberfest activities to enjoy for non-drinkers and ages 20 and younger.
“Probably the most popular is the pumpkin painting,” said Shelby Werley, executive director of the Red River Chamber of Commerce. “We get a bunch of pumpkins and paint and let all the kids paint and decorate their own pumpkins, and that’s on Sunday. We also have the Mr. and Ms. Oktoberfest competition on Saturday, so that’s a really popular one and a bunch of kids participate too, so that’s kind of fun to see. And then there’s music and all kinds of other stuff that they can enjoy too.”
All ages can compete for the Mr. and Ms. Oktoberfest title.
“You sign up to enter, and then it’s Saturday at noon, and it’s a stein holding contest, so we fill some steins with water and you have to hold those out, and then there’s an obstacle course,” Werley said. “Occasionally, there’s some other category, so it’s usually yodeling or dancing or something like that, and then the winner gets sashed 2019 Mr. or Ms. Oktoberfest, and they get $100 cash too.”
The four-piece band Eurofest will perform traditional polka music and keep eventgoers entertained, and food will be available.
“There’s some food trucks and some people just kind of set up booths for the food,” Werley said. “This year, we have a traditional German food vendor. We also have wood-fired pizza. We have, like, vegetarian hot dogs and hamburgers with one vendor. We have ice cream and kettle corn and old-fashioned soda, and then we have our local barbecue guy that comes out and does it, so there’s a little bit of everything for everyone.”
Attendees can peruse and purchase from about 80 vendors.
“We have anything from painters to photographers to people that will have blankets and T-shirts and New Mexico True stuff in the park as well,” Werley said. “… They come from all around the state, and then some of the vendors are from (other parts of the country). We have one from North Carolina; we have one from Arizona, so the vendors are from all over. The majority of them are from New Mexico, but we do get some others as well.”