Grab your lederhosen and your stein! It is almost time for Oktoberfest!
By Charly SHELTON
Oktoberfest – the annual festival hosted by the Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce – celebrates German heritage and is one of the biggest events of the year in the Montrose Shopping Park. This year the street fair is on Oct. 1 and will take over more than three blocks of Honolulu Avenue. It will include rides, games, shopping and plenty of Bavarian foods, music and beer. The Oktoberfest held in Montrose is one of the biggest in the state and it draws visitors from all over the country.
Last year, public reaction to Oktoberfest was mixed due to price increases on beer and rides and a new charge for an ID wristband, but Melinda Clarke, executive director of the MVCCOC, said the public’s concerns have been heard.
“We are not going to charge this year for wristbands. Last year we charged $1, so [we’re changing that this year]. You just walk up and get one like we’ve done in the years before. And we have adjusted our prices on the rides because that was a big deal, too. The rides were really expensive last year and that was one of the things that people talked about. So the good news is that the rides are back to what they were a few years ago, maybe around 2014.”
Beyond compensatory changes from last year, there are additions and embellishments on what went right in years past.
“We are going to have a beer garden in the Montrose Travel parking lot that’s going to be a microbrew beer garden which will have 10 or 11 different craft brews,” Clarke said. “We still have Hangar 24 and Golden Road like last year, but we’ve added a few more.”
And what is an Oktoberfest without oom-pa-pa music? The Bavarian entertainment stage has in years past been a mix of traditional German music and mainstream bands, but this year will be different.
“Our Oktoberfest stage – the German/Bavarian stage at Ocean View Boulevard – is pretty much going to be all German stuff this year,” Clarke said. “We’ve got two groups singing in German, one is from the school and one is from a conservatory in the area with an accordion player, so that’s going to be nice. We brought in a couple of dance studios, so it’s going to be all Bavarian stuff.”
After the Hindenburg Park sign debate and furor earlier this year, when citizens from the Crescenta Valley and L.A. at-large were offended by a sign erected by German heritage group The Tricentennial Foundation to welcome guests to Hindenburg Park in La Crescenta, some whisperings have been passing among citizens how this may affect the German heritage festival Oktoberfest. Clarke said that she has not heard anyone mention a conflict with the festival, either in person or via email to the Chamber. She further stated that the sign debate is a separate issue and is not associated with the community, only the group who erected the sign.
“Hopefully Oktoberfest just keeps the German memory alive. Germans were a big part of this area here so let’s celebrate the positive,” Clarke said.
Oktoberfest will be held on Saturday, Oct. 1 from noon to 11 p.m. in the 2200, 2300 and 2400 blocks of Honolulu Avenue in Montrose. More information can be found at montrosechamber.org.