Monday, October 20, 2014


Alpenfest grew in 2014

Published: October 19, 2014

Professional polka dancers Randy and Ashley Thull of Wisconsin show their stuff at Oregon's Alpenfest. They taught polka lessons at the festival and will return in 2015.

Post-event review of 2014 Alpenfest finds fest to be on upward arc.

WALLOWA LAKE – The 36th edition of Oregon’s Alpenfest Sept. 25-28 resulted in growth on all fronts.

Attendance was up, more food and beer was consumed and the dance floor was much more crowded with polka dancers than last year, Alpenmeister Chuck Anderson reported this week after reviewing the Swiss-Bavarian festival’s results.

“We were very pleased,” he said. “Our new Swiss yodeler, Art Brogli, was a huge hit everywhere he went, even on his own, and the response to our new polka teachers, Randy and Ashley Thull from Wisconsin, was amazing.”

Anderson said a couple from Washington, attending for the first time, emailed that their visit, including their polka lesson from the Thulls, was “even better than our trip to Paris.”

“Even the performers and our loyal volunteers thanked us,” Anderson noted.

“I want to make a point of acknowledging the volunteers who make our festival possible. They decorate the hall, handle safety and security, cook and serve our Bavarian food, set up the tables and chairs and otherwise create the atmosphere that our guests love. They are awesome.”

The volunteer corps numbered about 50, Anderson said. Other relevant numbers:

• 1,030 bratwursts served.
• 85 pounds of German potato salad served.
• 725 pints of beer poured.
• 360 number of Alpenfest Breakfasts served.
• 100 estimated attendance at free polka lessons.

“For the first time in three years, the dance floor was very crowded,” Anderson said. “I should know, since I was out there myself. More guests than ever were dancing instead of just listening to the music. I attribute that mostly to our polka lessons, which we’ll repeat in 2015.”

Oregon’s Alpenfest for 2015 will be Sept. 24-28, with a new polka band because The Polkatones have a long-standing agreement to perform at Oaks Park Oktoberfest in Portland when it conflicts with Alpenfest weekend.

The Tirolean Dancers of Oregon, faced similarly with a conflicting invitation for the weekend, chose to return to Oregon’s Alpenfest rather than perform elsewhere. “I think they like it here,” Anderson said.

Monday, September 29, 2014


The 36th edition of Oregon's Alpenfest was the best ever. 

Our new polka instructors, Randy and Ashley Thull from Wisconsin, were a huge hit. (That's them above.)  Thanks to their free lessons, we had more dancers on the floor than we ever have had. We expect to have them back in 2015.

The Tirolean Dancers folk dance troupe introduced new and spectacular dances and got a rousing reception at every one of our performances. (That's them below.) 

The Polkatones dance band, always fabulous, also didn't disappoint. 

Our new Swiss yodeler, Arthur Brogli, was beloved by everyone who came in contact with him. In addition to our shows, he sang on top of Mt. Howard, at the Alpine House and Wallowa Valley Senior Living senior centers and anywhere he could find to stop and play his buttonbox accordion.

Our street accordionists on Main Street in Joseph also were big hits at the businesses where they performed, not to mention the talented Polka Express, the twin-accordion team of Jim and Shirley O'Brien, who played at Accordions at Alpenfest, at our main shows and at the Alpenfest Breakfests.

Everyone I talked to had nothing but great things to say about Oregon's Alpenfest. If you were here, you know what I'm talking about. If you weren't, you must plan to come next year on Sept. 24-27 to experience Oregon's Little Switzerland. 

Chuck Anderson

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


In preparation for the 36th edition of Oregon's Alpenfest, roof repairs got under way Tuesday, Aug. 26, on the Edelweiss Inn at Wallowa Lake, traditional home of our performances.

The owners of the Wallowa Lake Tramway, who also own the Edelweiss, hired a contractor from La Grande to patch leaks in the roof of the nearly century-old building.