by Jennifer Parker
LA VETA- “Wie die Jahre vergehen… der Zweiund-zwanzigte Jahre Oktoberfest.”
How the years go by… this is the 22nd year of La Veta’s Oktoberfest. It was started as an idea from Candy Cocco, as an end of summer, before the snow falls, party. It has always taken place along Main Street on the first Saturday in October. In the beginning, the visionaries for this event had maybe 10 or so vendors; mostly arts and crafts. It has grown tremendously over the years and there are now around 70 vendors, with everything from food, jewelry, clothing, collectibles, and informative booths.
Previous Oktoberfest Board member, Laurie Erwin, recalls that the 10th year brought in around 5,000 visitors. However the biggest money making year was a time when it snowed and it was known as OktoBURRfest. Heaters were brought into the Biergarten and people just stayed because it was too cold to leave the area. A “tip jar” can be found in the Biergarten and people were very generous that year.
Erwin wanted to point out, “this is not a drunk fest in the middle of Main Street. We have raised a lot of money for local entities.” In fact, the purpose of Oktoberfest is to raise money for scholarships, the senior class in La Veta, local businesses such as the library, or families with financial need for medical bills. “We raise a lot money, and then give it away,” claimed Erwin. Another charity that benefits is the Special Olympics of Huerfano County. Raised money is used to take the kids on special trips and athletic functions.
Two scholarships of $500 each are awarded to La Veta and two to Walsenburg schools. The Twin Peaks Rodders (car show) are also a part of the festivities and now help out with scholarships.
There is a Board who looks at local people who have excellent community service contributions and of those, a queen and king of Oktoberfest are chosen and announced around noon in the Biergarten. It is completely unknown who is up for the nominations until the winners are announced.
Those who help to keep this function going every year celebrate those who have been big contributors in the past. The Biergarten is named after Pete Giadone. He would come from Pueblo every week all summer long and during Oktoberfest for years with his vegetable stand. He supported many charitable functions in La Veta and he was an early Oktoberfest King. The raffle ticket booth is named after Charlie Masinton, who would contribute hundreds of dollars for raffle tickets, as well as supporting much more for the town.
So, come out for great food, live music, and help support the kids in our area. Where else can you attend such a great party within walking distance?