The Bavarian-themed festival runs from 4 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 11 and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 12.
It’s all in fun to promote OB, benefit worthy causes like youth sports and to let the entire community celebrate everything about the German culture that is Oktoberfest.
The Ocean Beach version of Oktoberfest replicates on a smaller scale the world’s largest fair, a 16-day festival held annually since 1810 in Munich in Bavaria, Germany from late September to the first weekend in October, drawing more than 6 million participants.
The local incarnation was started by a small local for-profit group known as the Hoy Hoy Boys.
Hoy Hoy Boys spokesman Michael Kinsman talked about the origin of the Ocean Beach Oktoberfest, which has become one of the community’s signature events over the past nine years.
“We knew we couldn’t replicate what they do in Munich,” said Kinsman, noting the idea of bringing Oktoberfest in a small way back to OB emerged during a conversation he had with a friend on a train ride to Prague. “We talked about how we would do it (differently) and that we wanted to create something that was really fun, because OB is a really great place to party and have a good time.”
Kinsman said the OB Oktoberfest was first held at Dusty Rhodes Park but, due largely to access problems, the event has since been moved to the grassy foot of Newport Avenue, where it’s become anchored the past couple years.
Kinsman described the event as a “three-ring circus.”
“There are just so many different events,” he said. “There’s something to keep everyone engaged.”
The Oct. 11 schedule will feature the finals of the Beer Garden Band Slam, a competition to crown the best cover or tribute band at the beach with $3,000 in cash prizes (related story, page 9). There will also be a semi-final round of the Miss Oktoberfest contest.
Saturday’s festivities begin with the second annual Brat-Trot Beach Run, an all-ages race fundraiser promoting local youth sports.
Brat-trot chairman Jim Musgrove, treasurer of the Ocean Beach Community Foundation (OBCF), a 12-year-old nonprofit, said proceeds benefit numerous worthy causes supported by the foundation, including youth sports.
“We’ve supported the skate park at Robb Field with helmets and other safety gear,” he said. “We’ve also done work with various boys’ and girls’ softball and soccer teams. We sponsored 15 boys and girls to go to YMCA youth sports camps this summer and last.”
Musgrove said this year, the brat trot was expanded to include a family oriented 2K run and a 21-and-over 5K run along the beachfront. The 5K costs $30 to enter, offering participants free beer garden admission. The 2K costs $20 to enter per family team.
“We’re gearing it toward young parents with children,” Musgrove said, noting lots of runners come dressed in costume.
OB MainStreet Association executive director Denny Knox said the Oktoberfest event has improved over time as Ocean Beach has molded it its own.
“It’s a more locally grown event now and we have a really good turnout and it’s really fun,” she said. “I think we’re the only Oktoberfest celebration right on the ocean.”
Knox said proceeds from a portion of Oktoberfest entrance fees are used sensibly by the OB MainStreet Association.
“Proceeds go into a beautification fund where we do repairs to public rights-of-way,” she said. “It’s really a great event that raises a lot of money for a lot of different groups.”
The Oct. 12 Oktoberfest schedule is packed tight with bratwurst-eating, stein-holding and other traditional Oktoberfest contests. Once again, participants will vie for a $10,000 cash prize in the infamous, one-of-a-kind sausage toss competition. The Miss Oktoberfest finals will take place this day.
Saturday’s Oktoberfest will also include performances by traditional oompah bands all day, as well as many local musical acts.
Admission to the beer garden is $3, which goes to support the Ocean Beach community. The outdoor area is free. This year, the event shuttle will run between the 710 Beach Club in Pacific Beach, as well as The Local in Downtown and True North in North Park, delivering people to the festival throughout the day Oct. 12. The last shuttle leaves Ocean Beach at 10 p.m. There will also be a shuttle on Oct. 11 from 4 to 10 p.m. running between 710 Beach Club and the festival.
“It’s a good day at the beach,” said Kinsman. “It has evolved every year.”
This year, Kinsman said, a social media interactive online component has been added, called “Find the Schnitzengruben.” The OB Oktoberfest Facebook page has been sending out tasks. Those completing the tasks and emailing proof of them in will be entered into a drawing for cool prizes, including a trip for two to Oktoberfest in Germany next year.
During the last decade, the Ocean Beach Oktoberfest — a joint venture between the Hoy Hoy Boys, Ocean Beach MainStreet Association and the Ocean Beach Community Foundation — has raised more than $150,000 for local nonprofit organizations.
For more information, visit www.OBOktoberfest.com.