Those civic-minded folks in Lake Arrowhead Village are at it again—so air out your lederhosen and dust off the accordion, because we are smack-dab in the middle of Southern California’s only free Oktoberfest. Featuring German-style music, entertainment, contests, food and (drum roll) BEER!, Oktoberfest—or “Weisn,” as the locals in Germany call it—is the largest fair in the world, with about six million participants making their way to Bavaria in late September/early October, all in wait for the official festival kickoff that begins once a kegger is tapped by the Mayor of Munich, declaring, “O’zapft is!” (“It’s tapped!”). While a special Oktoberfest beer is brewed for the occasion (which only local Munich breweries are allowed to serve) certainly-good-enough-for-us-Yanks is Becks beer, which is the official brew of the Lake Arrowhead extravaganza.
And what goes better with beer than rich, salty, heavy food? Spatzle, black bread and kraut, oh my! Although the festival has a long and varied history dating back 196 years, it’s always been a celebration almost entirely focused on gluttony. No wonder Lake Arrowhead gives you six weeks, instead of the typical three to fill your belly with bratwurst, bierwurst, blutwurst (mmm . . . blood sausage), bockwurst and weisswurst. Just make sure you have a Costco-sized case of Pepto on hand when you have pottywurst.
After you and the family have digested, dance the day away to authentic Bavarian oom-pah bands performing on the center stage. This Saturday, check out the Bluebirds and Bavarian Stew; Sunday, the Stew goes solo. Bavarian Stew is one of SoCal’s most popular German/Bavarian bands (who are the unpopular ones?). A perennial LAVO favorite, the Stew specialize in European folk and dance music, so tune up your yodeler and join in—when dudes in short-shorts and jaunty caps and fraus with lacy aprons and flowers in their hair all pound the beers, there’s only one word for it: wunderbar! (Anna Hirsh)
Lake Arrowhead Village, 28200 Hwy. 189, Lake Arrowhead, (909) 337-2533; www.lakearrowheadvillage.com/events/calendar. Every Sat.-Sun., noon-5 P.M. Free. Thru Oct. 29.