The Definitive Guide to Oktoberfest

What started out as a celebration of the marriage between prince and princess in the 19th century has evolved in to a celebration of the fall season with copious amounts of brew ha-ha that is celebrated by millions throughout the world.  Oktoberfest began in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to Princess Therese and was attended by a mere 40,000 guests in comparison to today’s 6.4 million attendees of the celebration.  Now, countries all over the world celebrate this joyous occasion with food, brew and merriment.  California and Nevada also get in on the Oktoberfest fun.  Here’s a recap of all Oktoberfest celebrations that were enjoyed by millions of residents in the California and Nevada areas:

Revellers salute with beer after the opening of the 179th Oktoberfest in Munich

Placerville – The 3rd annual celebration in Placerville had the brew flowing at 3pm with free admission and hosted wiener dog races and other Oktoberfest contests.  The Grand Isle Fire Brigade performed live music, children’s games and a silent auction were also on hand.  Locals believe it was a resounding success and are now counting the days until the 4th annual Oktoberfest.

Stockton – Dubbed “Stocktoberfest”, the Stockton celebration consisted of keg lifting competitions, craft beers on tap, sausages, home brews, chicken dance dance-offs and, of course, beer stein holding competitions.  Modeled after a German Octoberfest with a Stockton twist, Stocktoberfest seating was outdoors on the waterfront with long tables, wooden benches and BIG glass steins.  Proceeds from ticket sales benefited the improvement of Downtown Stockton.

Chico – The widely popular and esteemed Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico was home to their own rockin’ Oktoberfest party.  The 4th annual event was so big that it took up two days with a loaded music lineup, glass blowing demonstrations, traditional German styled brewed beer and an enormous feast of the German persuasion.  It was a sold out event, and nothing less was expected when it comes to a Chico celebration.

Vacaville – The seventh annual Oktoberfest was hosted by the Pure Grain Bakery and the Downtown Vacaville Business Improvement District.  Live music by Tony Raymann’s Edelweiss Band and East Bay Mudd were accompanied by German food, beers and wines in what was a festive celebration that is still going strong after seven years.  The Golden Gate Bavarian Club dancers tapped off a successful and fun evening for the residents of Vacaville.

Squaw Valley – Beer lovers and those who like traditional German fun enjoyed a variety of entertainment, including traditional Bavarian music and folk dancers. Patrons were encouraged join in on the spirit of the event by wearing traditional lederhosen and Austrian clothing and participating in the Oktoberfest Games. This event is a fundraiser for the Tahoe Truckee Lacrosse Association.

South Lake Tahoe – The Camp Richardson Oktoberfest featured family games and activities, German food, craft booths, music by the Gruber Family Band, a pumpkin patch, costume contest for people and dogs, and a beer and wine garden. At the same time, and within walking distance, was the Fall Fish Festival (formerly Kokanee Salmon Festival) at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center.

Tahoe City – The Tahoe City Oktoberfest was held at the Cobblestone Center.  The celebration was an all-ages event, with a live rock ‘n roll dance, a selection of seasonal brews, BBQ sausages and wieners, fresh-made fruit desserts and ice cream, and fun games and crafts for kids of all ages.

Reno – Reno’s Chapel Tavern held an authentic Oktoberfest celebration with enormous fanfare.  This was an all-you-can-eat-and-drink party, with imported German beers and locally-made bockwurst, bratwurst, sauerkraut, homemade mustard, and German potato salad.  Entry included a commemorative T-shirt and German mug.  Oktoberfest is such a big deal in Reno that they decided to throw a second celebration later on.  The second Reno Oktoberfest party was at Charlie Palmer Steak inside the Grand Sierra Resort, with loads of German food and beer and the attendees were treated to an authentic Oktoberfest experience.

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