What a wonderful time local residents and visitors from up and down the Roaring Fork Valley had at the 151st annual Carbondale Oktoberfest held last Saturday. It was gratifying, with all the work that went into planning the event, to see so many smiling and happy people enjoying themselves on a gloriously beautiful sunny autumn day.The huge turnout of people was beyond what we expected. It was wonderful to see so many families with children, along with seniors and people of all ages conversing, eating, drinking and dancing in downtown Carbondale with the spectacular alpine setting of snow-covered Mount Sopris as a backdrop. What made the day so successful was the sounds of live oom-pah-pah bands, German cuisine of grilled brats and kraut, the Bavarian Beer Garden, the antique street sale, and the kids Bavarian Bounce Castle.I would like to thank all the individuals and volunteers who helped to make this event such a huge success. A special thanks goes out to Larry Ballenger, who came up with the idea to host the Oktoberfest Celebration only six weeks ago, and who organized the antique street sale, coordinated the downtown event setup and sought most of the local business sponsors that assisted in funding the event.Thanks also to Chamber of Commerce Director Dixie Heyl, who organized the Bavarian Beer Garden and lined up the many volunteers to work it. A big thanks goes out to local artist Sue Hontz who created the beautiful Oktoberfest poster and T-shirt design, and to Chris Chacos who organized the successful silent auction sponsored by the Carbondale Downtown Preservation Association.Thanks are in order to my counterpart, Glenwood Springs Parks and Recreation Director, Dan Rodgerson, who provided the Bavarian Bounce Castle for the kids as a fund-raiser for their future indoor swimming pool. And thank you Jo-an Barnett, Minda Rodgerson and Chris Loertscher for helping with all the planning and coordination and assisting with all the final finishing touches in setting up the event.And, of course, the entire Oktoberfest celebration could not have been possible without the generous funding support from the following businesses and corporate sponsors: Ace Hardware, Alpine Bank, Alpine Party Rentals, Aspen Mountain Mortgage, Gould Construction, Grand Junction Pipe, I&S Hardware, Otak, River Valley Ranch, Schmueser Gordon Meyer Engineers, Wells Fargo Bank, the Carbondale Rotary Club, and the Town of Carbondale. My sincere and heartwarming thanks goes out to all of you who, without your financial help, this event would not have been as successful as it was!Last but not least, I would like to thank all the local citizens and visitors who attended this first Oktoberfest celebration. You all made it the success that it was, in what I hope will become one of the largest traditional fall harvest and folk festivals in the Roaring Fork Valley.Thank you so much!Jeff JeckelCarbondale Recreation Director
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Here are a few cringe-worthy memories made in an effort to put food on the table for restaurant-goers from Aspen kitchens.