SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Oktoberfest is the annual celebration of beer, though the event didn't start out that way.
The official celebration, which takes place Sept. 19 - Oct. 4 in Munich, Germany, started as a wedding celebration to honor Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig's marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.
Festivities started on Oct. 12, 1820, but lasted until Oct. 17. In the years that followed, the celebration was repeated, until eventually the festival was extended and moved forward.
The event has taken on a life of its own, spawning German-themed events across the globe. In San Diego, a handful of celebrations pay homage to the German holiday with delicious San Diego craft beers and international brews.
San Diego Oktoberfests:
Oktoberfest in El Cajon (Sept. 27 - Oct. 6) — Enjoy live German "Oom-Pah" music, traditional foods like bratwurst and ox-on-the-spit, German beers, folk games and dancing, and a kids' zone at El Cajon's massive Oktoberfest party. Cost: $5 - $10; More info.
Encinitas Oktoberfest (Sept. 29) — Encinitas celebrates Oktoberfest with Gemütlichkeit Alpine Dancers, a street craft faire, and family fun zone parked with rides and games. A "Keepin' It Local" beer garden will boast authentic German foods and both German and San Diego brews. Cost: Free to attend; More info.
La Mesa Oktoberfest (Oct. 4 - 6) — La Mesa Village claims their Oktoberfest is the largest this side of the Mississippi. Head over for three-days of traditional sing-a-longs, original glücklich games like stein races and keg bowling, contests and crafts, and traditional German dishes and food. Cost: Free to attend; More info.
Carlsbad Oktoberfest (Oct. 5) — Not only can you enjoy Oktoberfest in Carlsbad, but help support the local Rotary Club. The event hosts costume contests, arts and crafts, games and rides, live music, and delicious authentic German meals and brews. Cost: Free - $15; More info.
Ocean Beach Oktoberfest (Oct. 11 - 12) — Salute Oktoberfest on the beach in OB, with free beachside performances and music, stein-holding and bratwurst-eating contests, delicious foods, craft vendors, and a beer garden with more live music. Cost: Free - $5; More info.