quattro Magazine q1_2020: Event Report – Avantoberfest 2019

words: Don Adams, photos: George Achorn, Kieran Buttrick, Lenny Piedmont

Editor’s note: This article originally ran in the q1_2020 issue of quattro Magazine. If you would like to subscribe to quattro Magazine, join Audi Club here.

Editor’s note #2: Our photo gallery was huge so we split it between the three photographers who contributed to this article.

Photo gallery by Lenny Piedmont

Photo gallery by Kieran Buttrick

Photo gallery by George Achorn

Ten years ago, what started out as a few cars and close friends, has evolved into a wildly popular event… so much so that organizers had to cap the number of attendees. Over the years, this largely Avant-focused gathering has continued to get better. 

This multi-day event begins Saturday morning at historic Lime Rock Park; where attendees can get to know each other, catch up with old friends and watch drivers from local clubs take their cars around the track. Eventually there is a driver’s meeting, touching on the finer points of the trip, including confirming the location for the designated stop on the way to Stratton Mountain, VT. 

For 2019, that stop moved to the Taconic Crest Trail. The road leading to the rally point seemed to be the perfect mountain road, with long sweeping turns and several straights so you could carry some speed, as you climbed the mountain to a large lot at the top. Drivers were told to pack lunch, but for those who’d missed that message, there was a quintessential country store at the bottom of the mountain and just over the Massachusetts border. Had you made the climb and neglected to stop… well… that was good reason to attack the climb a second time. The way down the Taconic Crest trail was just as good as the way up, with long sweeping turns getting tighter before leveling out as you reach the bottom. 

On the crest, drivers again had a chance to hang out to let their cars cool down a bit. Some ventured down the trailhead, while others examined the large mix of cars that had made this leg of the drive. 

Following the stop came the final leg and run into Stratton, Vermont. Avantoberfest’s arrival in Stratton, at this particular time, is not without reason. The annual Columbus Day weekend also happens to coincide with Stratton’s Beer & Chili fall foliage festival. The area teems with folks drawn in for brew and food, and those with an Avant focus too… heading for a designated rallying point at Stratton’s highest parking lot, which offers a gorgeous view that is great for shooting photos. At this point, some hop onto shuttles and buses to take a ride up to the festival. 

2019 marked an anniversary year for Avantoberfest and event sponsors stepped up their support as part of their participation. The annual raffle was extra rich this year, with plenty of chances to win great kit should your name be chosen. 

On the first night in Stratton, the group gathers in an exclusive event at a local Pub in the heart of the ski resort’s town center. The gathering is private and intimate, allowing the many guests to get to know each other a little better and contributing to the underlying theme of camaraderie that’s so pervasive amongst Avantoberfest veterans. 

On Sunday morning, the group sets out on another tradition. Event organizers arrange a semi-private hillclimb up nearby Mount Equinox. This majestic mountain is home to a monastery, but more importantly in this case, sports a paved road all the way to the crest. During the summer, it hosts an SCCA hillclimb, and one of the Land Rover off road experiences uses the space, too. On this particular weekend though, it is taken over mainly by Audi automobiles… mostly of the long roof variety.  

The Mount Equinox road is a tight road, with turns doubling back on themselves as you work your way up to the viewing center at the top. As you approach the crest, there is nothing but a short wire fence separating you from the sheer declines and fall foliage. Views from the top are breathtaking; and that’s on top of any number of photogenic stopping points on the way up. It isn’t every day you get to run your car up 3800 feet in such a short distance.  

One could spend hours up on that mountain, but when you do eventually return, you have a few hours to relax around nearby Manchester and the like before the final event of the weekend – a cookout at a large private home near Stratton Mountain Resort. The property is beautiful and modern; perched atop a hill with one of the most spectacularly colorful views of the weekend when taken in over a beer on its expansive patio. Here there is another final raffle. Organizers, sponsors and attendees relax and take in the final moments of a relaxing getaway weekend. 

After 10 years, there is no question why Avantoberfest has become such a strong tradition for so many Audi enthusiasts. It seems tailor-made for the lifestyle an Avant owner lives, taking in the outdoors, travel to cool New England destinations, and attacking winding mountain roads with the best of them. No doubt, with cars like the RS 6 Avant and A6 allroad coming into market, this tradition will only grow in popularity. Here’s to the next ten years of Avantoberfest. 

Photo gallery by Lenny Piedmont

Photo gallery by Kieran Buttrick

Photo gallery by George Achorn