A little drizzle couldn’t dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm at the 31st annual Oktoberfest celebration on Oct. 4 in Montrose.
The festival, which was scheduled to start at noon, had a slow beginning due to the lack of tents in the audience area where two stages were set up. But, as the showers came and went and the sun shined in between, people acclimatized and the joy became evident.
“I live in [UC Irvine] and I look forward to [Oktoberfest] because I like to see the community getting together and I get to see all my old friends,” said Shelby Pock, 19, who helped with the sale of “brats” and “bier” that the festival offers every year.
The original Oktoberfest is celebrated every year in Munich, Germany. According to Oktoberfest.de, it was first held for five days in 1810 in honor of the Bavarian Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.
Because of its popularity, the festival was lengthened to 16 days and has become the world’s largest fair. Now, many cities hold Bavarian-themed celebrations modeled after this event.
“I think it’s just a reason to drink beer. Most people who come to the festival aren’t German…It’s like Saint Patrick’s Day; you’re Irish for a day,” said Harry Tamme, a first-generation German-American who has attended the local festival ever since he was a boy.
One of the main attractions of Oktoberfest is the availability of alcohol and food.
Sale of wine and beer began at 2 pm. German dishes such as bratwurst, sauerkraut, and strudel, as well as many carnival-type snacks were available all day.
Despite the alcohol, the festival remains family-oriented.
The live entertainment included 12-year-old singer Blake Marie Lindsey from 3-2-1 Talent Show Studios in La Crescenta, a karate showcase by the students of USA Martial Arts, dance performances by the Kids on Stage from the Church of Scientology, and music by the German-American Brass Band, among others.
“I know that the bands are really awesome here and there are a lot of games and kids have fun,” said Tania Leder, 22. Leder, a festival volunteer, wore a traditional Bavarian gown which was passed on to her by her Austrian grandmother and was eager to see others in costume.
“My husband and I were in Germany for our honeymoon and I actually purchased [my garments] in Titisee, Germany – outside of the Black Forest,” said Carolyn Tamme, who was there with her husband, Harry, and mother-in-law, Lidia.
Lidia Tamme, an immigrant from Germany, has attended the event ever since it started.
Apart from performances, there were other kinds of entertainment such as bingo, rides and fair games. There were also contests for coloring, best-dressed dogs, and Master and Little Miss Oktoberfest, as well as the traditional stein-holding and sausage-eating contests.
Oktoberfest is coordinated by the Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber as a community activity and fundraiser. According to officials, the money collected will go to other community events and scholarship programs in Glendale.