Home Community Community News

Alpenfest taps into fun with Swiss-Bavarian style

Tammy Malgesini

East Oregonian

Published on September 16, 2017 12:01AM

Swiss-born yodeler Art Brogli accompanies himself on button accordion during a past Oregon Alpenfest. A Swiss-Bavarian festival, the 39th annual event kicks off Sept. 28 in Wallowa County.

Photo contributed by Oregon’s Alpenfest

Swiss-born yodeler Art Brogli accompanies himself on button accordion during a past Oregon Alpenfest. A Swiss-Bavarian festival, the 39th annual event kicks off Sept. 28 in Wallowa County.

Bruce Coutant of Enterprise, who builds alphorns, will play and tell audiences about the traditional horn during Oregon’s Alpenfest, which is Sept. 28-Oct. 1 in Wallowa County.

Photo contributed by Oregon’s Alpenfest

Bruce Coutant of Enterprise, who builds alphorns, will play and tell audiences about the traditional horn during Oregon’s Alpenfest, which is Sept. 28-Oct. 1 in Wallowa County.

The Edelweiss Inn dance floor is popular with dancers of all ages during Oregon’s Alpenfest.

Photo contributed by Oregon’s Alpenfest

The Edelweiss Inn dance floor is popular with dancers of all ages during Oregon’s Alpenfest.

The eight-member Polkatones dance band returns to Oregon’s Alpenfest, playing their usual rousing polkas and waltzes.

Photo contributed by Oregon’s Alpenfest

The eight-member Polkatones dance band returns to Oregon’s Alpenfest, playing their usual rousing polkas and waltzes.

Professional polka dancers Randy and Ashley Thull come from Wisconsin to teach polka and waltz during Oregon’s Alpenfest.

Photo contributed by Oregon’s Alpenfest

Professional polka dancers Randy and Ashley Thull come from Wisconsin to teach polka and waltz during Oregon’s Alpenfest.


With a backdrop referred to as Wallowa County’s Little Switzerland, a celebration of Swiss and Bavarian cultures awaits visitors during Oregon’s Alpenfest.

Alpenmeister Chuck Anderson is looking forward to the event, which is in its 39th year. Alpenfest offers fun and family-oriented activities, including two dance bands, guest accordionists, a Swiss yodeler and alphorn players.

“I’m usually moved to tears by the music that’s in my Swiss and German blood,” Anderson said. “Oh, and I get to dance the polka with as many frauleins as I can.”

The four-day event kicks off Thursday, Sept. 28 with a free procession and opening ceremony in Enterprise. The ceremonial tapping of the first keg of Alpenfest beer follows at 5:30 p.m. at Terminal Gravity Brewery & Pub. The lively entertainment features Accordions at Alpenfest, with a suggested $5 donation.

Festivities move to Wallowa Lake and Joseph on Friday and Saturday. Accordionists will play on Joseph’s Main Street, while the main performances are staged at the Edelweiss Inn, near the lake. Performers include The Polkatones dance band, the European Take-Out Band, the Tirolean Dancers of Oregon, Swiss yodeler Art Brogli and Wallowa County alphornist Bruce Coutant. Also, you won’t want to miss the daily demonstrations of Swiss folk wrestling (Schwingen).

Anderson said both the Tirolean Dancers and The Polkatones, who play rousing polkas and waltzes, are in high demand during the Oktoberfest season. The two groups pencil in Oregon’s Alpenfest dates each year, Anderson said, because they enjoy the festival.

“I thinks it’s the combination of spectacular scenery, an appreciative audience and we treat them well,” the alpenmeister said.

There are free activities during the festival, including polka and waltz lessons Friday through Sunday with Randy and Ashley Thull, championship polka dancers from Wisconsin. Also, there is no charge to enter the Alpine Fair, which features art, crafts and food vendors. Daily festival tickets are $15-$18. Kids ages 5-12 pay $8. Sunday is designated as Patriots Day, which provides free admission for military service members, veterans, law enforcement officers and firefighters.

For a delight to the taste buds, try some of the traditional cuisine, which includes scratch-baked strudel from Sugar Time Bakery in Enterprise, bratwurst imported from the Midwest, sausage-and-polka belt and sauerkraut made at Mt. Joseph Family Foods, the local grocer. And, of course, flowing freely will be small-batch Alpenfest beer brewed for Oregon’s Alpenfest by Terminal Gravity.

Also, new this year is a screening of a new version of “Heidi” before the official events. It’s Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. at the OK Theatre in Enterprise. Admission is $5 for adults/teens and $1 for kids 12 and under. Those dressed in traditional Alpine costume get in free.

While Anderson serves as alpenmeister, he points to the board of directors and a group of 50 volunteers who are key in making Oregon’s Alpenfest so successful.

For more information, including the full schedule and to buy tickets in advance, visit www.oregonalpenfest.com. For questions, call 541-426-2577.

———

Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539









Marketplace

Share and Discuss

Guidelines

User Comments