Last call for Oktoberfest!

Happy 200th Anniversary King Ludwig I and Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen! And thank you for Oktoberfest!
Yes, the German celebration started with a great wedding party on Oct. 12, 1810, when, then Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese. The Bavarian towns folk were invited to the great festivities which ended with impressive horse races.
The idea to repeat the exciting horse races every year brought on the tradition of Oktoberfest.
Though the popular races are no longer held today, a grand festival is held annually for weeks in Munich. Only wars and cholera epidemics have briefly interrupted the celebration.
 
Though we can’t all go to Munich every fall, there are plenty of Oktoberfest events here in sunny Southern California. And despite the perception of many that it is just an adult holiday with beer-consumption and scantily-clad “beer-wenches”, there are many events that stick to the tradition of bringing the community together and offer something for everyone, young and old alike.
 
Here’s just a sample of events:
ALPINE VILLAGE: Known as the oldest and largest Oktoberfest events in SoCal, Torrance’s 43rd consecutive annual fall celebration will come to an end this weekend. From 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday, enjoy traditional Bavarian fun with live entertainment and bands flown in direct from Germany, delicious traditional German fare, and, of course, tasty German beers. Friday and Saturday nights can be a bit rowdy and more suitable for the adult crowd while Sundays offer plenty of family fun with kiddie jumpers, sweet treats and games. Admission is $10 on Friday and Saturday and $5 Sundays. Alpine Village, 833 W. Torrance Blvd., Torrance. Visit the Alpine Village site for more information.
 
OLD WORLD VILLAGE: Oktoberfest festivities in Huntington Beach takes over the Old World Restaurant from Wednesday through Sunday for the 33rd year. Festivities run through Oct. 31 with Wednesdays with live Oom Pa Pah Bands direct from Germany playing every night, great German food and happy hour specials from 3 to 6:30 p.m. every Wed. thru Sat. Family Nite is Wed. and Thurs from 6:30pm to 10 p.m. with free admission. Anyone under 21 must be accompanied by parents. Friday and Saturday from 6:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. is for ages 21 and over (with valid I.D.). Admission is $15. Sunday is Family Day and Kinderfest from 2 to 7:30 p.m. Admission for adults is $5 and kids ages 6 to 12 are $2. Kids under 5 are free. Dachshund races are held every Sunday at 3 p.m. Look for discount coupons online. Free parking is available. Old World Restaurant, 7561 Center Avenue, Huntington Beach.
 

BIG BEAR: The 40th Annual Oktoberfest runs through Oct. 30 this year. Held weekends at the Convention Center at Big Bear Lake, 42900 Big Bear Blvd., this festival features live entertainment, food, music, log sawing and stein holding contests, The Safe Slam beer drinking contest, children’s contests and an “Outside Budenstrasse” with game booths, exhibitor booths and a petting zoo. Admission is $12 for adults, $9 for seniors and $6 for children on Saturdays. Sundays are family day with half-priced admission for adults and free for children. Pre-purchase tickets online and get a small discount. The Burgermeister package is perfect for the serious Oktoberfest partier. The $39 admission includes a commemorative Oktoberfest beer stein, a German meal, a German beer or beverage of your choice, and a set of Oktoberfest party beads. Visit the Oktoberfest website for more details

LAKE ARROWHEAD: Head down the mountain from Big Bear to the Lake Arrowhead Village (28200 State Highway 189, Lake Arrowhead) for a free Oktoberfest event. Held every weekend through Oct. 30, this festival is definitely a good time for the whole family with German music bands, contests, games, food and beer. For more information, call 909-337-2533.

LONG BEACH: The annual Long Beach Oktoberfest kicks off this weekend, Oct. 22-24 and Oct. 28-31, at El Dorado Park, 7550 E. Spring St., Long Beach, with free parking, live entertainment, a biergarten, an international food court, arts and crafts booths, desserts and a free souvenir digital photo. Children can take in story time with live storytellers, magicians and unlimited carnival rides. General admission is $15 and includes entertainment and unlimited. Online only presales prices are available. The purchase of a presale admission guarantees one Bavarian Feast of one large Bristol Farms grilled bratwurst, served with authentic German potato salad, sauerkraut and red slaw. Bavarian Feast will be served until 9 p.m. on Thurs., 10 p.m. on Fri. and Sat. and 9 p.m. Sundays. Check out the site for tickets and entertainment lineup.

PROST! (Cheers!)
 
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE OKTOBERFEST EVENT?
 

Chocolate heaven

As if living in beautiful Southern California wasn’t heavenly enough, Taste TV brings back its annual Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon to Pasadena this Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Pasadena Center, 300 Green St.

Chocolate lovers can dive in to 16,000 square feet to taste and devour goods from the finest chocolatiers and confectioners in So Cal and beyond.

When I had the pleasure of covering this event last year, after just an hour of tastings, I was a walking sugar bomb. The amazing selection of delectable tastings was totally worth the slight rise in my blood pressure.

More than 35 chocolatiers, confectioners and other culinary artisans will be featured such as Divine Chocolate, Amano Artisan Chocolate, The Chocolate Traveler, Chocoveda, The Toffee Box and more. Salon highlights include tastings, demonstrations, chef and author talks and interviews by TasteTV’s Chocolate Television program. 

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, children ages 6 to 12 $10 and children ages 6 and under are free. Two free children under 6 per adult, $10 for additional children under 6. Admission includes tastings, demos, etc.

Purchase tickets and get more information at www.lachocolatesalon.com.