Mountain High Polkas At Oktoberfest

PHOTO: T.A. Graydon - NewsPlus

John McColly calls out the Beer Chugging Contest.

Oktoberfest at Mountain High started on a chilly note, Saturday, October 22, 2022, but that didn’t cool down the action at Table Mountain. By noon you could hear the children’s voices in the haystack maze, hidden by stature, behind the slightly taller obstacle course. Not muffled by the giggling, the limbo contest was producing some laughter of its own as contestants tried to manipulate their bodies under a high-hurdle bar. Bavarian costumes were the rage, and the crowd was truly in character at The North Lodge at Mountain High in Wrightwood. The aroma of bratwurst filled the crisp, clean mountain air, laughter was abundant, and Oktoberfest 2022 was just getting started!

Anton Schnitzel and his Merrymakers provided the music

Anton Schnitzel and the Merrymakers were on stage performing traditional Polka, a blend of Bavarian music with a twist of “oom-pah” to it. Dressed in lederhosen (traditional alpine folk costumes), the quintet would break from the classic “Aidel vies” into “Play that Funky Music White Boy” at the drop of a Tyrolean hat! One moment the Merry Makers would be onstage playing oom-pah, and the next moment you could find them following “Anton” around the tables performing Mariachi-style Latin favorites. “I’m only having two beers,” said bass player and career musician Keith Hallar of Anton Schnitzel and the Merrymakers as he explained the intricacies of Oktoberfest beer. Samantha Willis, a beverage server sporting her Bavarian outfit and passing out frosty beers, suggested a popular brew for the thirsty bass player.

Keith happily accepted and was happy with the selection. What seemed to be an occasional snow flurry was blowing the outdoor patio around enough to bring the festivities indoors, to the comfort of the fireplace and much companionship. From this point on, the contests became more mature, stein holding, beer chugging, yodeling, you get the picture. There were no strangers at this Bavarian festival. Photo opportunities were endless. Everyone had a cell phone or camera out, taking many memorable shots. For instance, the two gender-confused frauleins won the costume contest, or the participants in the yodeling contest who yodeled as they had never yodeled before, literally.

Ladies Stein Holding winner Katie Salins and her friends.

The Ladies Stein Holding contest winner, Katie Salins, came to Octoberfest with her friends and their dogs. “It is awesome! We were camping nearby, and we came over. It is dog-friendly and so much fun!” Said Katie. “It was a big surprise, the highlight of the whole camping trip!” Her friend happily added. Alessandra and her bother Dillon, who moved from Wrightwood 22 years ago, came up from West L.A. for Oktoberfest. “We also want to hang out, see the development, visit our old house, and see how things have changed,” Dillon added. What do you think about winning the contest? “I think it’s fantastic, especially the pass!” said a sore-armed Jim Kelly, winner of the Stein holding contest and a Mountain High Ski pass. Have you ever won anything before? “Just my bride!” Jim proudly stated. Special thanks should be given to John McColly, Vice-President of Mountain High Sales and Marketing, and his wonderful staff, Anton Schnitzel and his Merrymakers, for their showmanship, and to all parties involved in this terrific event, Thank You, and see you next year.

Jim Kelly wins the Men’s Stein Holding Contest

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