Beer, brats & beatitudes at Hunter’s German Alps festival

Celebrate all things German at Hunter Mountain this Saturday and Sunday, August 11 and 12, at the German Alps Festival beginning at 11 a.m. The event is an annual affair of some 30 years that may be remembered as the “Brats and Brews Festival” of years past; but new attractions, including the fireworks, have been added for this year. Also new for 2012 are the Beer-Stein-Holding Competition and the Wife-Carrying Race on Saturday, and the Keg-Rolling Race on Sunday. Festivalgoers are invited to register to play and win prizes. Closing time on Saturday will be at 9:30 p.m., when the fireworks begin, and at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Another new event to the Festival this year is the Polka Mass at 11 a.m. on Sunday. It’s an actual Catholic service conducted by Father Anthony Motta of the Immaculate Conception Church in Haines Falls. The Jimmy Sturr Orchestra will participate in the Mass, as will a small choir, according to Gus Kosior, entertainment director for the festivals at Hunter Mountain. “There’ll be an eight-by-12-foot platform in the main tent, with an altar and a podium; and off to the side will be the choir,” he says. “Everything will be miked, and professionally done.”

Kosior says that they’ve done many Polka Masses in the past at other festivals, and they’re always very popular, drawing a lot of people. “If you want to make Mass on Sunday and still go to the Festival, you can do it all in one place here,” he says. Programs will be handed out so attendees can follow along with the service and the music.

The Jimmy Sturr Orchestra will perform on Saturday afternoon at 3 and 6:30 p.m. and again at 12:15 and 2:15 p.m. on Sunday, in addition to participating in the Polka Mass at 11 a.m. The HSV Bavaria Schuhplattlers will perform the traditional folk dance of the Alpine regions of Bavaria and Austria in between the other musical performances, which include DSB Die Schlauberger, billed as a fusion of rock ‘n’ roll with “Alpine Power;” the Alex Meixner Band, which blends old-time polkas and waltzes with jazz- and pop-influenced repertoire; the Rymanowski Brothers, who play Polish-American polka; Dennis Polisky & the Maestro’s Men, who have received numerous awards from the International Polka Association and blend traditional with original music; and Westallgaier, a young band from Germany that plays traditional Oberkrainer music as well as popular hits and drinking songs. A full schedule of events and live entertainment can be found by visiting

Admission is available at the gate for $12 each day for age 13 and over. Pets are not permitted on the grounds. A wide variety of traditional German fare will be available, of course, and the bars will stay open until the fireworks start on Saturday evening at 9:30 p.m. There will be activities for kids, as well as numerous craft and food vendors offering goods and wares.

The German Alps Festival comes to Hunter Mountain on Saturday and Sunday, August 11 and 12 beginning at 11 a.m. The Festival remains open on Saturday until 9:30 p.m. when the fireworks display commences, and until 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Polka Mass with the Jimmy Sturr Orchestra begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Tickets are available at the gate; the cost is $12 for age 13 and over. For more information, visit or call (800) 486-8376.

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