Oktoberfest celebration returns Oct. 25-26 

Get ready, get salty, get oom-pah-pah-ing for the annual Oktoberfest celebrations in Whistler.

Whistler Oktoberfest takes place Oct. 25-26, complete with its own "Miss Oktoberfest" and the Austria Vancouver Melody Choir, who open the weekend with a parade starting at 4 p.m. on Oct. 25.

As in previous years, community groups and businesses will also be participating in the event, which includes popular food items like schnitzel.

"Oktoberfest 2002 draws on the popular events from previous years, as well as providing an avenue for local business to get involved in the traditional celebration," says Gwen Young, Festivals Experience manager with Tourism Whistler.

The Rock-Paper-Scissors team of performers will launch the festival with the traditional tapping of the keg, at 4:30 p.m. in Whistler's Village Square.

A grand breakfast, presented by the Whistler Lions Club, takes place Saturday morning, as part of a fundraiser for Camp Squamish, a camp for children with disabilities.

Bavaria restaurant's Head Chef George Troeber will present a traditional four-course European Alpine Luncheon at the Whistler Cooking School, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

For family entertainment, the Rootbeer Garden is the forum for juggler Mike Battie, hosted by Whistler Kids in the Town Plaza Gazebo, on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. A pumpkin carving contest (ages 6 and over) takes place the same day, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Miss Oktoberfest will then judge the contest at 3 p.m., with proceeds from the Pumpkin Carving Contest go to the Whistler Food Bank.

As part of the weekend celebration, Bavaria Restaurant presents dinner specials and a special "Oktoberfest" menu.

Dubh Linn Gate celebrates with Oktoberfest beer from the Granville Island Brewery, Bavarian smokies, blackforest cake, and peach schnapps.

The BrewHouse and the Aubergine Grill also offer special Oktoberfest menus and dinner specials.

Due to the renovations at the Whistler Conference Centre, this year's festival will not feature the annual Bavarian Feast or Bavarian Beerhall Brew-Ha-Ha celebration.

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