Sawbrew Oktoberfest

The Sawtooth Brewery's Oktoberfest will move from Ketchum Town Square, where it was in previous years, to Festival Meadow this year to accommodate social distancing.

Beer, bratwurst, stein hoists, schnitzel, live music: It would be difficult to usher in autumn without an appropriately Germanic Oktoberfest.

Despite the uncertainty of COVID-19, the Sawtooth Brewery has found a way to go forward with the beloved tradition and give beer lovers the opportunity to celebrate in style and “get their German on.”

Oktoberfest will take place at Sun Valley’s Festival Meadow this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 18-19.

COVID-19 was a central priority for the organizers, and they managed to restructure the event to keep in line with all local, state and federal health guidelines while not compromising the spirit of the fest, Sawtooth Brewery Head Brewer and CEO Paul Holle told the Express.

The brewery has sectioned off more than 4.25 acres at the new location. By their reckoning, that would accommodate some 2,800 people, each maintaining 6 feet of distance from one another.

Appropriate restrictions will be in place: Face masks will be required for entry and must be worn when not eating or drinking; beer and food lines will be marked for distance; communal high-touch surfaces like certain games and shared tables have been removed; staff will wear masks and gloves and go into overdrive sanitizing just about everything.

Other than that and a few other mild restrictions, Oktoberfest should look pretty similar to previous years.

Sawtooth Brewery will be serving up a German-style Oktoberfest lager, Cranberry Gosé, Festival Hefe, Cold Springs Pilsner and Barrel Aged Standhope Doppelbock, as well as cider as a gluten-free option and soft drinks.

Proceedings will begin at 4 p.m. Friday when Sun Valley Mayor Peter Hendricks—in full lederhosen—taps the firkin. Doghaus will provide live music starting at 5 p.m. and the beer garden will close at 9 p.m.

The garden will reopen from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, with live music by Dusty and the Drifters, Bob’s Downtown Sound and Powersteering. Beer Olympics will kick off at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

“We’re excited to be able to host Oktoberfest,” Holle said. “We were far from it this spring, but after looking at local case numbers and changes, we found a path forward—with simple and effective protections, a lot of space and an audience that is looking to enjoy themselves in a slightly modified manner.”

Visit ketchumoktoberfest.com for more information, including festivities and health precautions. Then, as Holle said, “Get your German on—distance style and Idaho style!”

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