Alpenfest draws hundreds to Wallowa Lake celebration

By Observer staff October 03, 2012 03:24 pm

The return of Alpenfest featured the Tryolian Dancers Saturday afternoon in Wallowa Lake. KATY NESBITT - The Observer
The return of Alpenfest featured the Tryolian Dancers Saturday afternoon in Wallowa Lake. KATY NESBITT - The Observer

JOSEPH — The newly revived Alpenfest Swiss-Bavarian festival logged nearly 500 attendees for its four shows plus uncounted others buying goods from vendors at Wallowa Lake and at its Alpine Art, Antique and Craft Fair in Joseph, organizers announced Monday, Oct. 1.

“I’m totally blown away,” said Chuck Anderson, Alpenfest’s alpenmeister/CEO.  

“It was impossible to predict how many visitors we’d get because there hadn’t been an Alpenfest for five years and we have a new, expanded format. I figured a couple of hundred people would make it a successful event.”

Anderson attributed the success of the four-day event Thursday, Sept. 27, through Sunday, Sept. 30, to the dozens of volunteers who cooked and served bratwurst meals, sold tickets, helped with setup, cleanup and security and worked behind the scenes.

“People came from throughout the Northwest and some from beyond,” Anderson said. “One told me that she thought we had ‘recaptured the spirit of Alpenfest.’ I guess that says it all.” 

Alpenfest boosted the Wallowa County economy for lodgings, restaurants and shops, stretching the tourist season nearly a month past Labor Day, when the season usually starts to wind down. 

Entertainment was provided by the Polkatones dance band, the Tirolean Dancers and Swiss yodeler Lisa Ward, all of whom had performed at past Alpenfests. Ward appeared at the first Alpenfest in 1975.