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It’s major-league eating at this year’s Oktoberfest

Aug 28, 2017 11:07AM ● Published by Jana Klopsch

Chefs prepare hundreds of bratwursts for this year’s Oktoberfest competition.

Gallery: Oktoberfest [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Shaun Delliskave | s.delliskave@mycityjournals.com

As the Germans say, “Jetzt geht’s um die Wurst!” Or, as it translates into English, “Now it goes around the sausage,” which is how a native Oktoberfest celebrant expresses “all or nothing.” Snowbird Ski Resort kicked off its annual Oktoberfest with an all-or-nothing Bratwurst Eating Championship. 

Brats are as much a staple of the annual event as beer and pretzels, but this year Snowbird hosted an officially sanctioned Major League Eating (MLE) event featuring top-ranked MLE competitors from around the United States. “This is the first bratwurst eating contest at Snowbird during Oktoberfest,” said Snowbird manager Brian Brown.

Indeed, major-league eating is serious business. MLE was founded in 1997 by brothers George and Richard Shea as the International Federation of Competitive Eating, Inc. (IFOCE). The penultimate event for the IFOCE, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, held on Independence Day, saw legendary eater Joey “Jaws” Chestnut gulp down 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes with 2.8 million people watching on ESPN. 

The IFOCE also sanctions La Costeña’s “Feel the Heat” Jalapeño Eating Challenge, the Krystal Square Off World Hamburger Eating Championship and the National Buffalo Wing Festival. 

The Cottonwood Heights area resort’s bratwurst contest is Utah’s first foray into the world of professional eating. The event took place Saturday, Aug. 19, at the Oktoberfest Halle, and local Utah company Colosimo’s provided the sausages. 

Fresh off her victory from winning the female division at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating, as she has done since 2014, Mika Sudo, the No. 1 ranked female eater in the world, competed in the event. Competitors had 10 minutes to eat as many bratwursts as possible. The event attracted other superstar eaters as well, and the victors took home a $4,000 cash prize. Cottonwood Heights residents and other aspiring local competitive eaters were also invited to compete against Sudo and the other major-league competitors.

If the bratwurst gorge-fest was too overwhelming, Oktoberfest revelers could opt to participate in the 45-year-old festival’s traditional events. 

“The best way to experience Oktoberfest is to make a weekend out of it and carefully split your time between hiking, scenic tram rides, eating and drinking over two days. We also offer great weekend lodging packages during Oktoberfest,” said Brown.

While Americans typically associate Oktoberfest with beer, it is actually known as a Volksfest (people’s festival) that also includes rides and games. Snowbird’s 10-weekend Oktoberfest celebration, which includes food, beer, merchandise vendors, entertainment and Snowbird activities, ends on Oct. 15. 

“Oktoberfest continues to grow in attendance each year as the summer activities and mountain bike trails also expand and offer more great reasons to visit Snowbird in the fall,” Brown said.

Another event at this year’s Oktoberfest was the Snowbird and Salty Saints Social Club and Facial Hair Society’s fourth annual Beard and Mustache Competition. 

The competition included different categories for all types of facial hair: Whiskerina, Full Natural Beard, Natural Mustache, and a Kids Craft Beard or Mustache. Proceeds from competitive fees were donated to Wasatch Adaptive Sports, a nonprofit organization that provides adaptive recreation for veterans, adults and children with special needs.

“Admission to Oktoberfest is always free,” said Brown. Festival goers, however, will need to purchase food, drinks and passes to activities including the Vertical Drop, Alpine Slide, Mountain Flyer and Aerial Tram. 

“Men’s Journal Magazine” voted Snowbird’s annual German homage as one of America’s 10 Best Oktoberfests. Snowbird’s annual Oktoberfest attracts over 60,000 visitors every year, and those traveling to and by the resort can expect congestion at the resort. Carpooling is advised for those attending the events.  

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