Local restaurant owners teamed up to put on the city’s first annual Oktoberfest in Downtown Long Beach, which started Friday, Oct. 22, where authentic German beer was served and live Polka music played.
This traditional German event held its first successful night in front of the Scottish Rite Event Center in Downtown Long Beach. Live music was performed by Festmeister Hans und Die Sauerkrauts, a Polka music band that originally played for the Oktoberfest hosted by the Alpine Village in Torrance.
Jim Ritson, one of the three organizers of the event, said he heard that Alpine Village, the main L.A. County Oktoberfest, would not be holding their event this year. He said this was a good opportunity to host one in Long Beach.
“Long Beach, in our opinion, is the perfect home for the Oktoberfest or any other cultural event,” Ritson said.
Ritson is partnered with Brett Gallo and Eric Verduzco, where the three friends run a local restaurant called the Bamboo Club. The partners have worked together since June to plan Long Beach’s first annual Oktoberfest event. Fellow colleagues and friends were asked to volunteer to help run the festivities.
Live music is provided during the festival. Throughout the festival, the band engaged with the guests through dancing and contests and comedy. Guests laughed as they were invited to waltz in front of the stage or do the chicken dance from their seats.
Cardboard cutouts were propped in a corner for guests of all ages to pose and take pictures with. Pretzels the size of dinner plates were sold, along with traditional German beer such as Paulaner Golden Oktoberfest and Hofbrau Dunkel Bier.
The Long Beach Oktoberfest will be presented the weekend of Oct. 22 and Oct. 29. Friday and Saturday nights are for guests 21 and over from 5 to 10 p.m. Sundays are open for the kids and adults of all ages from noon to 5 p.m.
Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased on the website. Children ages 15 and under are granted free admission.