When Germany goes all out in celebration of Oktoberfest from Sept. 21 to Oct. 6, many merry sorts throughout the Los Angeles region will have already begun to squeeze into their lederhosen and kniebundhosen leisurewear. In select German-themed tourist attractions, strolling accordion players will fill entertainment complexes and restaurants with joyous music to salute Germany’s most popular festival of its type. For two full months, quite a few beer connoisseurs are expected to raise their steins to an age-old tradition that remains strong to this day. Should you choose to join in the fun of Oktoberfest 2013, here are a few exciting places to check out around L.A.
833 Torrance Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90502
If you want to get a jump on the oldest and largest Oktoberfest celebration in Southern California, set your sights on Alpine Village. Throughout the months of September and October, this popular tourist destination in the South Bay region of L.A. will recreate the atmosphere in which Oktoberfest is observed annually in Munich and Bavaria. Revelers will be entertained by authentic Deutschland-based Oom-pah musicians and treated to traditional bratwurst and Polish sausages, among other German delicacies. If you’ve never performed the chicken dance in public, you’ll be able to catch on quickly when others around you start shaking their tail feathers to the lighthearted sounds of jolly accordionists and tubaists. Attendees of all ages are encouraged to dress in costume.
2300-2400 Honolulu Ave.
Montrose, CA 91020
On Oct. 5, between noon and 11 p.m., this tiny town bordered to the north by the Angeles National Forest will recognize Oktoberfest in a big way. Sponsored by the Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce, emphasis will be placed on family togetherness. Staged at an outdoor shopping area, the day-long exposition will include entertainment by German bands, in addition to a continual variety show highlighting both professional and amateur performing artists. Children will be able to enjoy carnival rides with bingo games planned for the older generation. Expect to sink your teeth into bona fide German bratwurst, sauerkraut, sugary strudel and other delightful samples of European indulgence. A costume contest for your fashionable pooch is also planned.
Los Angeles Oktoberfest 2013
6021 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
Oct. 22 through Oct. 25
In addition to entertaining partygoers by showcasing Bavarian dancers, a live band and strolling accordionists, coordinators will salute German beers and conventional German cuisine while raising money to benefit local charities. On Oct. 23, 24 and 25 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Create Nightclub, festivities will include a silent auction and stein-holding contest on select dates. Starting Oct. 22 for a two-day engagement, former L.A.-lawyer-turned-magician Paul Fegen is slated to thrill the audience with his sleight-of-hand card tricks. Known the world over as “Fantastic Fig,” Fegen will demonstrate some of the acts that have thrilled tens of millions of television viewers in recent years. Be sure to check the event’s website for its growing list of supplementary performers and activities.
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345 N. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
For those interested in observing Oktoberfest in a smaller environment, a visit to a German-themed bar and restaurant might be the ticket. Wirtshaus, located near Melrose Avenue, features authentic German food and a libations menu that boasts more than 35 German beers. There are no American beers anywhere on its list of served alcoholic beverages. The venue’s German-born chef offers his versions of gut-filling German cuisine, including schnitzel, sausages, potato pancakes, currywurst and pretzels. Anyone needing to quench their thirst with a blend of beer and soda will feel right at home. The family-style eatery and biergarten presents a social atmosphere, whereby guests dine heartily and raise their steins while seated at long, communal tables positioned both indoors and out.
Red Lion Tavern
2366 Glendale Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Celebrating Oktoberfest in L.A. will not be complete without receiving a cheerful willkommen from the party people that run Red Lion Tavern, L.A.’s oldest German-themed gastropub still in existence. As far back as 1959, this neighborhood hangout has been recognized for its unique selections of German beer. The tavern features a total of three full-service bars, where patrons can toast Oktoberfest with a stein filled to the rim with Warsteiner Verum, Hofbrau Lager or the full-bodied Bitburger Pilsner, among many other choices. This old-world landmark serves traditional German food prepared from classic recipes, including the popular Schlachtplatte sausage platter. From Sept. 21 through Oct. 6, a photo taken at the historic venue’s decorated beer garden will make for a picture-perfect postcard.
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Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.