Sprechen sie Dude?
Thousands will flock to OB next weekend – October 11th & 12th – to speak German – or at least drink German – at the annual Oktoberfest on the beach and in the OB Pier parking lot, presented by the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association, Ocean Beach Community Foundation and a group called Hoy Hoy Boys.
This year’s two-day event is chock-full of contests, prizes, food and lots of beer. Hit the grassy area by the beach on Newport and Abbott for a more family-friendly atmosphere with music and games for the kids. Those who want to take it up a notch (and are of age) can head to the “beer garden” in the beach parking lot for beers, food and some rowdier times.
Denny Knox, executive director of the OBMA, expects upwards of 10,000 people to participate between the two days. Her group runs the free area in the grass.
“It’s a really nice way to raise money for all kinds of people,” she said of the event. “Lots of people benefit, and it’s lots of fun.”
Michael Kinsman, who is a partner in the Hoy Hoy Boys, a group that runs the beer garden portion of the event:
“We’re all about fun,” he said. “This is OB. You gotta have music, you gotta have beer and you gotta have fun.”
The party starts at 4:20 p.m. on Friday (of course) and kicks off with the semifinals of the Miss Oktoberfest pageant. Friday is also the “Blond’a’thon”, where anybody wearing a blond wig – or does it the natural way – in braids gets into the beer garden for free.
Music will be provided by the Band Slam contest, which has been whittling down local acts for the past few weeks and offers five of the best tribute bands vying for $3,000 in cash prizes. Among them is an Elvis Costello cover (The Distractions), a Rob Zombie tribute (American Zombie) and Wicked Garden, which plays the best of the Stone Temple Pilots.
But the Rag’s money is on The Big Lewinsky, a raucous outfit that plays covers of everything from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Ice Cube.
Looking to make a cool 10 grand? Hit up the Sausage Toss, where contestants throw a rubberized hot dog toy into a cauldron 50 feet away. The first 10 people to make it are entered for a chance to roll four dice. If anyone rolls four of a kind, they walk home with the big payday.
Kinsman said there has only been one winner in the fest’s history, which happened the first year, before the dice component was introduced, when all you had to do was put the sausage in the basket. He said the winner was as shocked as anyone.
“He said he could’ve thrown it a thousand times and never made it,” Kinsman recalled.
Someone will also win a trip to Munich for the real Oktoberfest through the Find the Schnitzengruben social media contest. Just go like the Oktoberfest page on Facebook to enter. A winner will be chosen on Saturday for the trip, which is valued at $5,000.
“I don’t know what a Schnitzengruben is, but you win a trip to Germany,” Knox said. (For the record, the name comes from a scene in the movie “Blazing Saddles.” For more context, it’s probably best if you looked it up yourself.)
For non-OBceans, a shuttle will be heading out both days from 710 Beach Club (710 Garnet Ave. in Pacific Beach, aka OB’s younger and less-sophisticated neighbor to the north).
Those who want to get some exercise in before gorging on sausage and beer can participate in the Brat Trot, a 5K run on the beach on Saturday morning. Participants get free entry into the beer garden, as well as entries into the Beer Stein Holding contest.
Other events include a Bratwurst Eating Contest, a Balloon Blow for women only (ladies have to blow up seven hot dog-shaped balloons to win a $50 prize) and a raffle for lots of free schwag.
The German beer of choice is Spaten, while Pizza Port will be offering its Chronic Ale, special for the weekend. Beer garden entry is $3 per person and beers are $7 each or $20 for three. Wise OBceans who want to maximizing their partying dollar might think about hitting up the half-price happy hour pitchers at Sunshine Company before heading into the fest, but you didn’t hear that from us.
Knox said that, despite the festive atmosphere, there have never been any problems with over-rowdy or combative attendees.
“I can’t remember any incidents we had,” she said. “It’s a typical Saturday night in OB.”
Well, except for all the barefoot hippies wearing lederhosen.