Decked out in lederhosen, revelers found Honolulu Avenue to be just like “hof” (home).
By Ted AYALA
Lovers of brats and brews across the region converged into Montrose for the Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce’s (MVCCC) 35th annual Oktoberfest on Saturday. Beginning at noon and ending at 11 p.m., the event drew its biggest crowds yet, defying the record-setting gas prices that have cut into the disposable income of many.
“It hurt to fill up the tank to get us up here,” said Ivan Rodriguez as he watched his wife and kids enjoy the rides. “But we came here two years ago and really loved it. So we had to come back now.”
“For us it wasn’t too big a deal,” said Henry Lindrath. “The trip from Azusa isn’t too bad. So it hasn’t really dinged my pocketbook too much. But even if we were further out, we’d still come here. We love the Oktoberfest.”
The event saw the MVCCC broaden the event’s appeal by catering to families and children.
“I like the rides and games,” said Tyler Karlinsky, whose father Matthew stood over him munching on a bratwurst. “It’s lots of fun.”
Three stages entertained visitors all day and into the evening. The main stage at Ocean View Boulevard hosted contests, including Best Dressed Dog and Lil Miss and Lil Master. A variety of music could also be heard along the avenue, from contemporary bands like La Crescenta’s The Incompletes to the country crooning of Eli Locke.
New activities, like the dunk tank, were also welcomed.
For local businesses, too, the event was a boon to sales, drawing crowds into the Montrose Shopping Park.
“It wasn’t as good as last year,” said Mark Pedersen of Paradis Ice Cream on Honolulu Avenue. “But it’s real close. Overall this was great for us.”
According to the MVCCC’s executive director Melinda Clarke, the 35th annual Oktoberfest was the most successful in the chamber’s history.
“In 2011 we made $34,000 – more than 2010 – and in 2012 we made $16,000 more than 2011,” said Clarke. “We are very proud of this.”
According to Clarke, the estimated number of people attending the event was in excess of 35,000.
“Our sales prove that,” she added.
After the event closed at 11 p.m., clean-up teams led by local business leader Chris Waldheim tidied up the streets of Montrose overnight, ensuring that Honolulu Avenue was litter-free before sunrise.
“Our motto with the clean-up is, ‘We don’t leave trash behind. Only memories,’” said Clarke.
Despite the large crowds, no incidents of unruliness were reported at the Oktoberfest.
“There were no arrests,” said Glendale city spokesman, Tom Lorenz.