As many of you know, I live in a majestically beautiful place. (Something I try and remind relatives of when convincing them to visit.) Along with a serene drive commute home from work every day, this also brings lots of tourists and festivities. As the season winds down, I took the kids to attend the last tourist ‘hurrah’ of the season: Alpenfest.
Wallowa County is sometimes referred to as America’s “Little Switzerland.” With stunning mountain views, great dynamics in elevation and, heck, even a tram, I can see the resemblance. For years this resemblance was the source of Alpenfest, a local celebration of European custom. Unfortunately, it hadn’t happened for the past 5 years from poor attendance and other maladies. This year, it was back.
It was a gorgeous late-September Saturday, and I was determined to check it out. After the kids and I got chores done, we headed out to enjoy the celebration. With the revival of this past time, they branched out with events starting in Enterprise, then splitting between the town of Joseph, and up at the lake a few miles away. While I thought this was confusing, neither location seemed to lack participation.
I was seeking out some sausage & kraut, so I headed to the lake where I thought the best stuff would be. I timed it so that we’d arrive there around lunch time. While my timing was spot-on, the selection was not so perfect. There were 2 food vendors at the main location where all the pavilions were set up. One had a line, but no menu, signage, or other markings to figure out what was going on there. We elected for the other and had a very unhealthy, deep-fried lunch. (You’re only young once, right?)
Stomachs satisfied, we got a program and found where the dancing, yodeling, and other things were going on. I stood in line for a while, until we got near the door. As polka tunes radiated out, I saw a stream of my fellow line-neighbors turning away after they entered the doorway. One older gentleman vented his frustration at us, letting us know the admission charge. The kids weren’t REALLY into seeing the show anyway
It turns out that trailer was serving the cuisine I was looking for, but you were to purchase your meal with the show. Alas, there were other things to do… We did our round of the vendors, the kids were interested, and brought their money, but nothing was really ‘kid priced.’ I also struck out trying to locate any kid activities. A few great ideas did pop into my head: Go carts, mini golf, there were plenty of other things to do, right?
Well, unfortunately, my daughter had wrecked her bike (read ARM) and was in a sling. Apparently, this bars you from doing all sorts of fun stuff. SO, the kids got a souvenir penny & cotton candy, I grabbed an ice cream, and we retreated home. The day wasn’t a total blunder, after all, we got to go to a birthday party that afternoon!