It’s finally October in the Hudson Valley, and that means foliage, pumpkins and Oktoberfest!
The first Oktoberfest was on October 12, 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Germany’s Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese Charlotte Luise of Saxony-Hildburghausen. All the citizens of Munich were invited, and the party, held in the meadows outside the city gates, became an annual event.
In the 209 years since its birth, Oktoberfest has been cancelled 24 times due to war, epidemics or other crises. In the United States, many Oktoberfest celebrations are earlier in the month or even in September to take advantage of ideal autumn weather.
Germans were among the first settlers along the Hudson River, and founded towns such as Saugerties and Germantown, New York, so their traditions and celebrations have made their way to the United States over the years. Since then, Oktoberfest has been adopted in a variety of ways, creating new traditions for visitors and residents of the Hudson Valley.
Running all month long was the annual celebration of Hunter Mountain’s Oktoberfest, from September 28 to October 20. The popular ski resort provides an opportunity for visitors to experience the autumn foliage from a unique perspective - riding high above in a ski lift!
Visitors had the opportunity to try axe throwing, listen to German music and shop locally made goods. With plenty of family-friendly activities, visitors lounged on the slopes, went hiking or ziplining. The themed weekend tickets included a ride on the lift, a commemorative glass and a t-shirt.“What a perfect place to get stuck!” one enthusiastic rider on the Skyride hollered to her fellow leaf peepers while the lift was stopped for loading.
The highlight for some was the Plaid Picnic, a long table down Main Street that invited friends and strangers alike to a potluck-style lunch. While there were plenty of familiar faces, they were also joined by visitors from Massachusetts and beyond. Organizers included the owners of Art Park, a modern mobile home community in Chatham, Arthur Anderson and Heidi Bryson.
“[It] was about neighbors meeting neighbors, sharing food and enjoying the OctoberFeast together,” Nicole Albano, resident of Art Park and co-organizer of the Plaid Picnic, said.
“My favorite part of the day was getting to meet new people and getting them to sit down and share food with us. It was awesome and I loved every second of it,” Albano said.
Athens hosted its first annual Oktoberfest at the town’s Riverfront Park on October 19. The adult-only event included a cornhole tournament, refreshments from local breweries, wineries and distilleries, and plenty of food, all highlighted by a backdrop of the fall colors over the Hudson River.
The Hudson Valley celebrates Fall like nowhere else. With a variety of options, there is no shortage of festive fun – above all, celebrating the beauty of the region and spending time winding down after summer.