Today’s article is in honor of the annual worldwide celebration of Oktoberfest! We’re going to take a look at the history of Oktoberfest, then follow up with some Oktoberfest celebrations happening near The Pizza Press locations in Orange and Los Angeles Counties.
Oktoberfest came about when Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria was married to Princess Therese on October 12, 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the joyous occasion. The fields have been named Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s Fields”) in honor of the crowned Princess ever since.
The decision to repeat the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest. During its first few decades, the choices for amusements at the festival were few and far between. In 1811, an agricultural fair was added, and by 1818 beer pubs were included along with performers. The first carousel and two swings were also set up in 1818. Small beer stands set up to slake guests’ parched throats began growing rapidly in number at this time.
By 1870, mechanical rides were an expanding feature of the festival, and in 1908 the festival boasted Germany’s first roller coaster. In 1887, lederhosen and dirndls became the traditional garb of the attendees. By 1896, the beer stands were replaced by the first beer tents and halls- set up by forward-thinking landlords with the backing of the breweries.
Today, Oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world. Some 6 million visitors from all around the world converge on the area each year. In Munich, the fest lasts for 16 days, beginning on a Saturday in September and always ending on the first Sunday in October.
The fest traditionally begins with a parade, starting just before noon. Included are the mayor and other civic leaders, followed by horse-drawn brewer’s carts, bands, and townspeople wearing their costumes. The parade ends at the oldest private tent at Oktoberfest, the Schottenhammel tent where the mayor opens the first keg of beer and the toasting begins.
To keep the Oktoberfest, and especially the beer tents, amicable for the elderly and families, the concept of the “quiet Oktoberfest” was developed in 2005. Until 6:00 pm, the orchestras in the tents only play quiet brass music.
And that brings us up to date on Oktoberfest! Now The Pizza Press Beer Blog would like to inform you of places you can celebrate Oktoberfest if plane tickets to Germany are not an option this year.
First is Sierra Nevada Brewing’s Oktoberfest which takes place at Sierra Nevada Hop Field in Chico, California. There will be delicious beers, glassblowing, a traditional feast, and a mustache competition (among other activities). Tickets are available for Friday 9/30 and Friday 10/7. General admission is $51.50 – head to http://www.sierranevada.com/oktoberfest to purchase tickets.
Old World Events is holding their own Oktoberfest in Huntington Beach, California, with beer tasting, food trucks, and German bands. It runs from September 11th to October 30th. Wednesdays and Thursdays are from 6:30pm-10:00pm (admission is free on these days). Fridays and Saturdays, the event is open from 6:30pm-1:00am (admission ranges from $10-$20 at the door). Sunday, family day, is from 2:00pm-7:30pm and will have plenty of fun activities for the kids (adults $7, children 6-12 $3, under 5 years old free).
The Phoenix Club in Anaheim, California is holding an Oktoberfest party every weekend from 9/16-10/30. Friday hours are 6pm-midnight, Saturday hours are 5pm-midnight, and Sunday hours are noon to 6pm. The event is open to aged 19 years and up $10 admission (Phoenix Club members $5, kids free). There will be live music, German food, and German beer on tap!
LA Oktoberfest is held in Manhattan Beach, California from October 21-23 from 1pm-5pm. A 4-hour pass is $50, and a 2-hour pass is $35. These passes include a glass stein and unlimited refills of beer! In addition to beer there will be traditional foods, live music and old time drinking songs.
Pasadena Octoberfest runs on October 15th at the historic Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. There will be 50+ breweries, live music, food, pub games, silent disco, and a “Raise the Stein” hoisting competition. General admission is $40 through 10/15, and VIP tickets are $70.
Finally, The Pizza Press will be celebrating Oktoberfest by continuing to have delicious craft beers on tap all month long. Thank you for reading. Prost!
Edited by Mary Ahn