A local teetotaler believes that renaming the Oktoberfest beer-centric festival Uchtdorffest is the perfect
prohibition inspiration that can keep the event rootbeer afloat.
“After I heard the report on KSL about local festivals losing the ability to serve liquor, I was reminded of the special message from our visiting teachers last month — to encourage obedience to the Word of Wisdom,” said LDS Business College student and Marketing major Megan Pratt on why she decided to start the petition to change Oktoberfest to Uchtdorffest.
The prompting began when the Utah State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control announced that beer and alcohol permits for festivals would become more difficult to attain; speculation quickly brewed that Utah’s historic Oktoberfest may not be able to obtain a permit this year. Locals are baffled — after all, what is a beer festival without beer?
But the LDSBC student said the youth can get buzzed just as easily on The Spirit rather than on spirits.
“When Heavenly Father closes a door, he opens a window,” Pratt said. “What better way to fellowship those who’ve previously chosen to spend their weekend at an alcohol- and excess-centered festival? And since it’s a German festival, I can’t think of a funner[sic] way to celebrate German culture than through a keynote speech by President Uchtdorf!”
Oktoberfest, a 40-year annual tradition held at Snowbird resort, is a festival widely known for free-flowing steins of ale paired with traditional German food and fare.
Germany native Dieter F. Uchtdorf, often regarded as the youth outreach “rockstar” of the First Presidency, is well known for his “can’t miss” talks during General Conference and thought-provoking quotes shared through amateur made memes over social media. The vast conduits of social media were then a logical starting ground for Pratt’s now viral online petition. Within 12 hours, the petition had amassed over 341 signatures.
With a physically visible change in demeanor, Pratt giddily exclaimed that, “President Uchtdorf even re-tweeted my invitation to speak at the event. It was the most exciting moment of my life! My mom even started a Twitter just so she could re-tweet it too! The support has been overwhelming.”
“It could be like a fun Family Home Evening kickoff to General Conference season. We could make rootbeer or sherbet floats in big glass cups, and get together to make giant soft pretzels,” Pratt added.
When asked how this proposed plan would actually generate anticipated lost revenue–the initial scare over losing Oktoberfest–Pratt admitted, “We’re still listening for the still small voice to give specifics on that one. Right now, we’re just keeping faith. If we make an opening for the spirit to come in, we’ll all walk away satisfied.”
“We’ve seen that there is a real want in our community to have more Christ-centered, uplifting festivals. We’re not going to stop here, we want to encourage any of the other festivals that are worried they might fail without an alcohol permit to look to a new approach.” When asked how specifically she might propose a rebranding of the Utah Pride festival, Pratt stopped and paused for a moment. “That’s going to be a little tougher to figure out, but I have faith that there’s a way. They might just have to take a bit more of a back-door approach.”