Oktoberfest is the largest Volksfest, a combination of a beer festival and traveling funfair, in the world. The main festival is held in Munich, Germany every year, lasting 16-18 days, as it originated from a wedding celebration between King Ludwig the First and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in 1810. Events, such as horse-racing, parades, beer and wine tastings from the original festival, remain a tradition today in the folk festival. People from all over the world celebrate this Bavarian culture, however, due to chain migration of Germans to America, people no longer have to go to Germany to celebrate the world famous fair. Aspects of the festival, including the food, music, clothes, and beer, were brought to several cities in America, such as Cincinnati, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and more. In the La Crescenta-Montrose community, there is also a version of Oktoberfest. This Volksfest has been ongoing for the past 42 years, and is a result from the large number of emigrants from Germany during the 1930s-1940s. The community’s festival is based off the original Munich one, however certain aspects are Americanized.
On October 5th of this year, Montrose held its annual version of Oktoberfest. Filled with bratwurst, beer, rides, and music performances, Oktoberfest was busy with entertainment and activities. Many adults were dressed in dirndl or lederhosen, traditional German clothing, while children and teenagers seemed to prefer normal clothing. Tents with snacks and drinks were set up with both similarities and differences to the Munich Oktoberfest. Bratwurst, sauerkraut, and strudel were sold along with regular hotdogs, pretzels, and churros. Most adults came to drink the variety of German beers and wines. Adults were eligible to apply for the Mr. and Ms. Oktoberfest contest as well as the Mustache and beard contest. Other contests, such as the kids version and the best dressed Bavarian dog, were more family friendly. Children and teenagers were attracted by the games where they could win prizes and fun carnival rides. The most popular ride was “Rampage,” which was an upscale Ferris wheel that had two wheels that spun around each other. The entertainment at Oktoberfest combined traditional Bavarian music with American pop songs. The Monster Energy Stage held DJs on their enormous stage, while the smaller, but just as interesting, Bavarian stage showcased D’oberlander dancers and the German American Brass band.
Oktoberfest in Montrose is an exciting way to socialize with friends and family, experience Bavarian culture, and contribute to the small businesses in Montrose. The community holds many events such as Oktoberfest, but this festival attracts the largest crowd of all ages. High school student Sophia, who has attended the festival since she was in elementary school, explained why she comes back every year, “Oktoberfest allows me to learn about a different culture in a fun and engaging way. I love the atmosphere of the event; as I go with my family, then hang out with my friends. The rides that go really high into the sky are my favorite because I can see the whole event and the lights from above.” Montrose’s Oktoberfest allows people in the community to experience many aspects of the original festival without having to go all the way to Munich.
Hannah Sung, Grade 10
Crescenta Valley High School