When we think of legendary royal weddings, it’s usually Charles and Di or, more recently, William and Kate’s regal affair that pops into mind. But did either of those grand events inspire centuries worth of commemoration parties? No, if we want to name the nuptials that roused generations of party revelers to keep on partying—it has to be the October, 1810 wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. Doesn’t ring a bell? Well, allow us to enlighten you; it was their grand wedding celebration 204 years ago that morphed into one of the most festive annual beer and culture fests in history—and that would be Oktoberfest. To this day, Munich, Bavaria hosts an amazing 16-day Oktoberfest on those same grounds (Theresienwiese) with close to 6 million visitors every year. Now that’s a party! If you want to join in the celebration, we have some good news: you don’t have to book a ticket to Germany. That’s right, because we have plenty of uproarious Oktoberfest parties right here in California.
So get out your lederhosen and Dirndl dresses, ladies and gents, because it’s time to indulge in Oktoberfestbier, brats and pretzels, and oodles of oompah music. Are you ready? Willkommen to Oktoberfest—California-style.
WHEN: October 4 & 5
WHERE: Beverly Hills Country Club/3084 Motor Ave., Los Angeles, CA
WHAT TO EXPECT: LA knows how to throw a party, and Oktoberfest is no exception! The “buxom” beer maidens will be serving up a bevy of Bavarian brews to Lederhosen-clad men (and women) and revelers can also indulge in fair food, strudel and food truck fare. Entertainment includes DJ & AMP Radio 97.1, Bavarian Dancers, a Silent Auction, a Stein Holding Contest, Fantastic Fig Magician and plenty of lively tunes and old-time sing-a-long drinking songs.
PRICES: General Admission–$35/VIP Admission–$100/Valet Parking–$15.00
WHEN: Sept. 12 to October 26
WHERE: Alpine Village/833 W Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA
WHAT TO EXPECT: For 47 years, Alpine Village has been home to “the biggest Oktoberfest celebration in Southern California,” and with 14 days of Bavarian festivities—we believe it. The Bavarian fun begins with the Oom Pah Pah party bands and keeps going with Alpine Village’s traditional German food (including award-winning sausages and bakery) and delicious Warnsteiner brewed beers.
PRICES: Ticket Prices range between $5 and $20, depending on the date.
WHEN: September 21
WHERE: Mountain Vista Dr., between N El Camino Real & Wandering Rd., Encinitas
WHAT TO EXPECT: The 19th annual event will kick off with a parade at noon, and then the real fun begins with a German-American Band (The Bluebirds), Bavarian dancers, a street craft fair with more than 200 vendors and last, but certainly not least—lots of German food and beer. To add to the beer love, the festival will also have a 21 and over Craft Corner, featuring yes, craft breweries, as well as a family zone with games, activities and more.
PRICES: Admission is free
WHEN: September 19–21
WHERE: Pier 48, San Francisco
WHAT TO EXPECT: There’s no way not to have a festive time at San Francisco’s Oktoberfest party with German food, cold Bavarian beer, “sizzling” oompah music by the 21-piece Chico Bavarian Band, as well as intermittent performances by traditional Bavarian dancers. There are several “sessions” happening throughout the weekend to accommodate the massive amount of festival goers, so choose which session has the best times for you and your friends!
PRICES: Admission is free
WHEN: October 11
WHERE: San Pedro Square Market, San Jose, CA
WHAT TO EXPECT: For the 2nd Annual Oktoberfest party, the San Jose festival masterminds are outdoing themselves. The party will be even bigger than last year since they’re closing down St. John Street to bring even more festivities to the day, including a beer tasting from 11 am to 1 pm, a great selection of traditional German food, live music and classic Oktoberfest games. There will also be Dachshund races and a Brawt-Dog Eating Contest—so be ready for fun, festival goers!
PRICES: General Admission–$25/VIP Admission–$60
WHEN: October 10–12
WHERE: 951 Riverfront St., West Sacramento, CA
WHAT TO EXPECT: The 2nd Sactoberfest is set to be an incredible, outdoor three-day event with all of the traditional elements you’d expect from Oktoberfest, plus more. Under a massive tent, guests will find premium German biers and food, as well as a full carnival, live music, local craft beers, Xoso Sportplatz games and tons of entertainment. The opening ceremony is on Friday, October 10, starting off with the official tapping of the keg and then continuing with a parade and a special, secret guest. Maybe our former Governator? You’ll have to go to find out!
PRICES: Prices vary between $15 (non-drinker) to $25 (General Admission) to $85 (VIP Admission)
Where are you celebrating Oktoberfest this year? Let us know if we mentioned your favorite event!