Celebrating Octoberfest in Squaw Valley

Octoberfest lady dancing, by Irene RowleyDid you know there was a Octoberfest festival in Squaw Valley, California, with snow?  I did not know…  I went to the Sierras for the autumn colors, and because I loved the mountains. If you have been following me, you know the Sierra Mountains are one of my favorite destinations. So I went to Squaw Valley this season.

Irene, First snow, Squaw Valley, photo by Irene Rowley

I loved the first snow in Squaw Valley …

I found Squaw Valley was a little village nestled under steep and beautiful granite mountains. They were untouched by snow, at least the day I arrived…The valley was nearly empty, like a ghost town without the snow and skiers. All the ski lifts were empty and at a standstill. In fact, it was so empty and quiet, there was nearly a soul in Starbucks, and I could bike up and down the streets at will….

dancers at Octoberfest, photo by Irene RowleyAbout three days after I arrived, the first snow came down. It came in large white flakes, settling on the mountaintops, trees and flowers, and remaining on the ground. And still it was quiet and empty, like the whole valley was sleeping. The snow melted the next day but remained on the mountaintops so I could take some amazing pictures…
Then suddenly on Saturday, people began to appear, out of nowhere for an Octoberfest: They filled the town streets by noon, many in Bavarian costumes, such as felt hats and cute shoes, and music began to fill the air. Many guys wore lederhosen, hats and suspenders, and many girls braided their hair and wore skirts. By noon, Octoberfest was in full blast, with people rejoicing with beer and sausage, and breaking lose to dance a little,  and celebrate October in an Old German style. With the first snow, it must have looked exactly like Bavaria!
For myself, I don’t drink any beer..

For the art readers, I would like to call your attention to how festivals are a wonderful occasion to bring out your costumes and your colors, and to have flair. This festival is to celebrate the old world harvests and abundance, its charm and its memories. (Or is to celebrate beer and sausages?)

Oh how I love old style European costumes and bright colors… loving those guys in their breeches and suspenders !

In this case, since my Mother is from Holland, the costumes were very familiar to me. As a little Dutch girl, my mom used to make me similar dresses, with ruffled sleeves and embroidery, and used to braid my brown hair for dances with flowers. My Dutch Oma gave me aprons with pockets, which I wore pretending to be in Holland. Those Dutch aprons were one highlight of a childhood!  I loved to dress up in them, then skip and dance, just like these little girls at Octoberfest. Back in the 1970’s, we had handmade dresses with lace, pockets and zigzag embroidery. In the olden days they would have had ribbons and laces more carefully sewn. (What is that zig zag ribbon called?? That one question has riddled me forever. Someone please put me out of my misery and name it for me!)

Well when it was over, I went back to the resort to make myself a big hamburger. I loved this Octoberfest. It was a magic day and Squaw Valley was just Like Bavaria, I think, with this very first snow…

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