By Sheridan Block
Hold on to your lederhosen, Ouray will be hosting its annual Oktoberfest celebration and the 49th Annual Jeep Raffle this weekend.
Brews, brats and polka dancing will take over the Ouray Community Center and 6th Avenue on Saturday beginning at 5 p.m. The evening festivities will include door prizes, a traditional German costume contest, a stein hoisting competition and live music performed throughout the evening by returning favorites the Austrian Connection.
A taste of Germany will be catered by the Goldbelt Restaurant, with menu items including brats, sauerkraut, potato salad, soup and a kid-friendly menu of hot dogs and mac-n-cheese. Beer and wine will be provided by 2 Rascals Brewery, Ouray Brewery and Ouray Liquors. Non-alcoholic beverages and the children's area will be hosted by the Ouray School French Club, fundraising for the students' 2014 Paris trip. Homemade desserts will be provided by the Woman's Club of Ouray County.
"(We're expecting) fun, friends, food and fireworks," said Ouray Chamber Resort Association Marketing Manager Heidi Pankow. "And we always hope to award the Jeep to someone in the audience."
The highly anticipated 49th annual Jeep raffle winner will be drawn at 9 p.m. This year's prize is a customized 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4x4. The "Ouray Edition" vehicle is painted "lobster red" and includes a two-inch lift kit, Mopar fog lights and custom graphics.
This year has already shown a record in ticket sales, said Pankow, even though final numbers won't be in until after Oktoberfest. Proceeds from the raffle sales go toward purchasing fireworks for the Fourth of July and New Year's Eve celebrations, student scholarships, community projects and events, as well as next year's raffle Jeep.
"We are definitely looking at a super-duper 50th Anniversary Jeep for next year's raffle," said Pankow.
Tickets for the Jeep raffle will be available for purchase up until the drawing on Saturday night. Costs are $5 for one ticket, $10 for three and $20 for seven. Raffle winners do not need to be present to win.
Due to fire restrictions and hazards during this year's Fourth of July celebration, the Ouray Volunteer Fire Department will set off fireworks during Oktoberfest this year. The display will immediately follow the Jeep raffle drawing around 9:15 p.m.
Oktoberfest celebrations kick off at 5 p.m. in the Ouray Community Center. Road closures for 6th Avenue will be from 3 to 11 p.m. Tickets for the event will be available at the door and will cost $10 for adults, with a complimentary beer mug for entrants of age, and $5 for students. Children 12 and under are free.