By Charly SHELTON
Oktoberfest started in 1810 as a five-day party to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Beginning Oct. 12, the entire town of Munich shut down and had a huge party with food, dancing and drinking a special brew of beer. The party ended with a horse race on Oct. 17. Everyone enjoyed themselves so much they decided to do it again the following year, and every year after that. Now, 205 years later, we only have one day to celebrate. There is no horse race, but the essentials remain – food, dancing and drinking an Oktoberfest lager. This year, Montrose’s annual Oktoberfest will be held on Saturday, Oct. 3.
Last year’s Oktoberfest was hot. Really hot. This year is supposed to be much better, with temperatures forecast at 90 degrees. With the cooler day and a more pleasant evening, this Oktoberfest is shaping up to be a great event, said Eric Hamilton, president of the Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce, and one of the organizers of the event.
“It’s not going to be 110 degrees like it was last year,” said Hamilton. “We have German dancers, we’ve got a German band, we have some cover bands playing that people are coming back for. It’s a total kid-friendly, down-home event. And [while some may] think of a brewfest as just a bunch of people drinking beer, over the last eight years that I have been involved with [Oktoberfest], I’ve noticed that it’s a reunion for everybody from high school and college. It’s [an opportunity] for the local community to go out and spend time with each other, go on some rides for the kids, grab a bite to eat, listen to the music and be able to say, yes, I had a German beer and walked down Main Street U.S.A. with friends.”
The beer is the star of the show, with Franziskaner, Spaten and Hangar 24 Oktoberfest beers presented at the event. Franziskaner and Spaten are both classic German beers brewed in Munich, Bavaria, where Oktoberfest began, while Hangar 24 is a California craft brewery out of Redlands. Hangar 24 is known for its California beers, with locally sourced ingredients and brews like Orange Wheat and California Spring Beer among their taps. For the event in Montrose, Hangar 24 will be bringing 32 kegs of its Oktoberfest Fall Lager which, according to its website is “brewed in true Reinheitsgebot fashion using the finest imported German malt, German hops and German yeast. Incredibly clean and balanced, this lager has a wonderful malty backbone and a hint of earthy hops.”
“I’m really looking forward to Hangar 24,” said Hamilton. “They were also at our brewfest that we had last year and that was super popular, so I’m looking forward to it. Although I’m going to be driving food to all the different booths in my official presidential capacity, I might be able to squeeze half a beer in at some point during the day.”
Rides and games will provide entertainment for kids and adults alike, and the food, dancing and beer will be available at several locations throughout the Montrose Shopping Park. It all begins this Saturday, Oct. 3 from noon to 11 p.m. in the 2200, 2300 and 2400 blocks of Honolulu Avenue. There is no charge to attend, but fees apply for food, and carnival rides and games.