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Alpenfest waltzes away in Wallowa County

Published on October 14, 2017 12:01AM

The Tirolean Dancers of Oregon perform an authentic Alpine folk dance at Oregon’s Alpenfest. The Swiss-Bavarian festival is held each fall in Wallowa County.

Photo contributed by Oregon’s Alpenfest

The Tirolean Dancers of Oregon perform an authentic Alpine folk dance at Oregon’s Alpenfest. The Swiss-Bavarian festival is held each fall in Wallowa County.

To open Oregon’s Alpenfest, performers and visitors walk down Enterprise’s Main Street led by a Mercedes-Benz Unimog owned by Peter Brandt of Joseph.

Photo contributed by Oregon’s Alpenfest

To open Oregon’s Alpenfest, performers and visitors walk down Enterprise’s Main Street led by a Mercedes-Benz Unimog owned by Peter Brandt of Joseph.


Cooler temperatures weren’t enough to keep nearly 600 guests from enjoying polka, waltz, alphorn music and Swiss yodeling during the 39th Oregon’s Alpenfest.

The Swiss-Bavarian festival, held Sept. 28-Oct. 1 in Enterprise, Joseph and Wallowa Lake also featured bratwurst, sauerkraut and lots of beer, said Chuck Anderson, Alpenfest president.

“Attendance was down a little compared to last year, but our food and beverage sales were way up,” Alpenmeister Anderson said. “Folks were hungry and we delivered as we always do.”

In addition to the delicious food, Anderson said visitors enjoyed Terminal Gravity’s special-batch Alpenfest Ale. The festival, he said, presents some Bavarian aspects of Oktoberfest plus a Swiss twist with yodeling, alphorn music and the spectacular scenery of Oregon’s Little Switzerland.

Performances at Wallowa Lake’s Edelweiss Inn featured returning favorites The Polkatones dance band, the Tirolean Dancers of Oregon folk dance troupe, Swiss yodeler Art Brogli from Lodi, California, and Enterprise alphornist Bruce Coutant. Alphornist Larry Johnson of Portland joined Coutant with his 24-foot bass alphorn, nicknamed “Big Al,” as in “big alphorn,” the alpenmeister said.

Wallowa County’s economy depends heavily on tourism and Oregon’s Alpenfest is an important factor, Anderson said. It contributes an estimated $150,000 to the economy late in the tourist season when there is little else to bring visitors to the area. The festival will celebrate its 40th year in 2018. For more information, visit www.oregonalpenfest.com.



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