By Elijah Bates
Ah, it comes but once a year: the opportunity to try on the tightest of lederhosen, the chance to chow down on a smattering of near unpronounceable sausage samples. It’s a suds-filled playground of hops and barley, an occasion to ogle at a babylon of tightly bound bosoms, an excuse to act like a sloppy drunk German, no matter your true country of origin…Oktoberfest is almost here!When it comes to the Greater Los Angeles Area, Oktoberfest events abound from nearly every corner of the landscape. From Hollywood to Big Bear to Huntington Beach, the citizens of the Southland celebrate as if their individual cultural heritages were at stake. Starting at the beginning of September and ending more than a month and a half later, tens of thousands of people dress the role and play the part, putting their health at stake for the sake of fun in a Düsseldorf-inspired game of Russian Roulette.
Sound like a good time? Of course it does! So go find a silly hat, practice your worst German accent and try your luck with the following Oktoberfests:
800 West Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Dates: October 1, October 9 and October 22, 2011
Hours: 1 – 5 p.m.
Price: $100 per person (all inclusive)
The plus side? Jack FM is throwing this event to benefit the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Children’s Tumor Foundation. The downside? Well, there is no downside when it comes to a Bavarian blowout, especially if you’re looking for an experience that accentuates the look of the lady more than the quality of the lederhosen. With separate events in West LA (October 1) and Hollywood (October 9), The Los Angeles Oktoberfest comes to a head Downtown at LA Live on October 22. Featuring such activities as a Stein Holding Contest and a Beer Pong tournament, and given its proximity to USC, expect this celebration to be a frat-tastic frolic. Oom Pah, bro.
833 West Torrance Boulevard
Torrance, CA 90502
Dates: September 9 to October 23, 2011
Hours: Fri to Sat 6 p.m. – 12 a.m.; Sun 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Price: $10 per person
Alpine Village lauds itself as the home of the oldest and largest Oktoberfest in all of Southern California, and for good reason. After all, 2011 will be the 44th consecutive celebration of the event, held for seven straight weeks underneath a massive 32,000 square foot tent in Torrance (just a short drive down the road). If you’re looking for a more raucous environment to celebrate in, definitely save your visit for Friday or Saturday, which are geared a lot more towards adults (i.e. there will be lots of drunk people there). And if you’re trying to keep your offspring’s hair free rom being soaked in German suds, Sundays are always set aside a lot more for the kiddies.
The Phoenix Club
1340 South Sanderson Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92806
Dates: September 23 to October 2, 2011
Hours: Friday/6 p.m. to 12 a.m., Saturday/1 p.m. to 12 a.m., Sunday/11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Price: $5 per adult/children under 18 free
As they say down at The Phoenix Club each year when Oktoberfest rolls around, “If you’re in the mood for a good ol’ fashioned Oompah, ‘Go for Blue Birds; stay for the Froschhaxn Express!’” By gum, that’s how they roll down in Anaheim! Have a hunger for something delicious to stuff down your gullet? Try some schweinshaxe, kasspatzn or blaukraut on for size! In the mood for a refreshing new beer to kick back? They’ve got nine! Got a couple of kiddies to entertain? Then by God, bring ‘em down to “The Balloon Man” himself, Skip Banks. It’s more Banks for your buck! And it’s also fun for the entire family!
Old World Village Oktoberfest
7561 Center Avenue, #49
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Dates: September 4 to October 30, 2011
Huntington Beach’s Old World Village is no stranger to Oktoberfest. For the past 34 years, this staple of Orange County has become famous for its sloppy celebration of the event…would you expect any less from a festival featuring active happy hours and roaming shot girls (who had to audition for the role, no less)? If you happen to make your way over on Sunday, be sure to check out the Daschund Races at 3 p.m. And should you be looking to avoid a much more drunken rigamarole, Family Nights take place every Wednesday and Thursday, from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Keep in mind, those of you under 21 must be accompanied by your parents—no exceptions!
Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest
Big Bear Lake Convention Center
42900 Big Bear Boulevard
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
Dates: September 17 to October 29, 2011
40 year ago, Big Bear Lake began celebrating Oktoberfest in style, telling everyone who would listen not to knock the knockwurst until they try it. This year is no different either, with such fun festivities as log sawing, safe slam beer drinking contests and multiple events planned in service of giving a tribute to America’s troops. And should you still be in the mood for some ‘fest fun come the end of October, don’t miss out on being part of the Halloween costume contest. Whether you’re taking your kids, attending with friends or just going by your lonesome, this is one activity that’s sure to provide some unforgettable sights to conclude Oktoberfest in style!
Elijah Bates lives in Venice Beach. When he’s not taking advantage of happy hours throughout the city, he surfs en masse, evading stingrays like they’re trips to the dentist.