Mountain Lake Oktoberfest
The chicken dance is one of Mountain Lake's Oktoberfest traditions.
For 22 years, they have poured their hearts into the music and the mountain.
And, if all told, they have been toasted by a ton of beer.
Mountain Lake Resort Hotel's lively Oktoberfest stars the Sauerkraut Band, a German oompah act boasting about 20 members living largely around the New River Valley in southwest Virginia. This group's loud, almost deafening music inspires such crowd favorites as a bunny-hop-style parade through a barn and the funny chicken dance, with patrons holding rubber chickens.
The Oktoberfest music mixes polkas, waltzes and marches.
And when it's all over? Many partyers continue to revel outdoors, singing those German beer-drinking songs in the parking lot, echoing off the mountains of Giles County and the sometimes-dry Mountain Lake.
Band members include Jude Raffenner, a tuba player and teacher from Galax, Va., who can reveal the history of how Oktoberfest is an annual celebration that originated in Germany.
The band leader is Ed Schwartz, a learning technology coordinator at Virginia Tech. He plays trombone and lives in Christiansburg, Va.
And while middle-aged, Schwartz has the energy of a 10-year-old boy, constantly on the run. Playing at Mountain Lake "is great," Schwartz said. "It's one of the most fun things I do all year."
Through Oct. 30, on Friday and Saturday nights, you'll find the fun and feasts. You can, of course, also soak up suds at the Biergarten, running 5-10 p.m. or check out "Der Appetitanregers" of German sausages. The Feast of October begins each night at 6:00 and includes a carving station with roasted pig.
Tickets are $35 adults, $26.25 for children age 12-18, and $17.50 for age 4-11. For more on Mountain Lake Oktoberfest, call 800-346-3334.