Oktoberfest brings fall spirit to High Sierra
The 16th annual Oktoberfest at the Village at Squaw Valley brought the best of Bavaria to the resort on Saturday, Sept. 23, as hundreds of lederhosen and dirndl-clad festivalgoers participated in hours of games, dancing, and beer tasting in support of the High Sierra Lacrosse Foundation.
“This is the 10th year that we have been raising money for lacrosse,” said Caroline Ross executive director for the Squaw Village Neighborhood Company. “The whole idea was, if we are going to build a sport in Tahoe, we need teams to play. With this event we are raising money for the High Sierra Lacrosse Foundation, which is a 501 (c) that was created to put money in the hands of programs, reps, education, and all sorts of things for the sport.”
The sport started with modest numbers roughly a decade ago in the Truckee, Tahoe, Reno, and Carson areas, but has since grown to include hundreds of players, ranging from children up to adults.
Tanner Halberstadt, who plays for Truckee High and also at the club level, was on hand at the Learn-to-Lacrosse Zone during Oktoberfest, demonstrating the game and letting festivalgoers try their hand at hitting targets and seeing how hard they could hurl a lacrosse ball.
“We had a little goal and a big goal for accuracy competitions and to see how fast everyone is shooting. It was cool to have it out here just to show people what the game is about,” Halberstadt said.
“We started out pretty slow, but people get a few beers in them, and they’ve been more inclined to step out here and play.”
Last year’s Oktoberfest raised $20,000, according to the Village at Squaw Valley, which went toward funding lacrosse in Northern Nevada and the Truckee-Tahoe area.
“This funds basically our whole lacrosse program,” Halberstadt said. “Aside from donations and stuff, this is huge. We get all of our rental gear, and basically money for fields, refs, all that type of stuff.”
The day’s festivities also included tasting of several traditional German beers, live music, dancing, and Oktoberfest games, such as a keg rolling race, brat toss and a stein holding competition.
The stein holding competition capped off the contests for the afternoon, where youngster Leo Dukes, of Incline Village, outlasted the field of children to take first place.
“Well, I tied with someone,” Dukes said. “I just closed my eyes, and just (went for it).”
Not to be outdone, Leo’s father, Sean Dukes, managed to outmuscle roughly a dozen other competitors during his round of stein holding to give the father-son duo a pair of first-place finishes.
“It’s a great environment and great crowd,” said Sean Dukes of bringing his family to the event for a second consecutive year. “And it’s family fun, too.”
The festival also included Big Blue Adventure’s Lederhosen 5K, where runners dressed in traditional German attire and raced along a 5-kilometer course from the Village at Squaw Valley and back.
Anthony Cupaiuolo, of South Lake, took first place with a time of 22 minutes, 27 seconds. He edged second place, Kent Sampson, of Sparks, by 15 seconds.
Dana Lis, of Davis, Calif., was the top female finisher with a time of 24:24. Vivie Sinou, of South Lake, was next, followed by Nina Polkovnikova, of Incline Village, in the women’s division.