By Robin GOLDSWORTHY and Mary O’KEEFE
Montrose was the destination on Saturday for a crowd estimated at 30,000 that came to raise bratwurst and brew in celebration of Oktoberfest.
The Montrose Verdugo Chamber of Commerce hosted the 33rd annual event along the 2300 and 2400 blocks of Honolulu Avenue and was well prepared for the deluge of German citizens – whether the heritage was fact or faux.
And though the celebration may have been beer-driven for some, the crowd was pretty well behaved, according to Glendale police who had a visible presence on the avenue.
Sgt. Tom Lorenz said Oktoberfest has a long history of a being a “safe and definitely a family oriented event. It is our goal to help the [Montrose-Verdugo City] chamber and the local community to keep it that way.”
North Command officers worked with the community to prepare for Oktoberfest. Lt. Ian Grimes and Officer Matt Zakarian met with Chamber members in the months leading up to Oct. 2. According to Grimes, the week before the event, he and Officer Joe Allen conducted training for volunteer bartenders where they discussed laws governing the sale of alcohol to minors and intoxicated patrons.
In their effort to maintain a presence the GPD had 12 officers plus several sergeants and a lieutenant present at Oktoberfest. Also, 10 more officers from Special Enforcement Detail and gang divisions were on hand.
“In addition to the event we had a DUI Task Force operating in the CV area and arrested six DUIs (driving under the influence) that evening,” according to Lorenz.
Highlights of the day included the crowning of this year’s Little Miss and Master, the traditional beer stein holding contest and the hot dog eating contest.
Carnival games were found at the west end of Honolulu Avenue. Games like balloon pop, basketball toss, horse race and turtle pond entertained the youngsters as parents visited with each other or rested after the walk down Honolulu.
At night, the Ferris wheel and other rides lit up the sky keeping attendees busy until 11 p.m. when booths were dismantled and the clean up crew made its way down Honolulu.
“The event ended peacefully,” according to Grimes. “Motor officers cleared the streets and maintained a safe environment as the vendors and volunteers took down their booths.”