I love October because it is such a festive month. For instance, many celebrate Halloween by dressing up, partying, and going to haunted mansions. Día de los Muertos is held early in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery as well. However, October isn’t all about ghouls. It’s also about beer! This year, “Surviving LA on a Budget” attended not one but two Oktoberfests!!!
Montrose Oktoberfest was one of the few Oktoberfests that’s actually free to attend. In fact, many food vendors and information staff were volunteers like Art Baghdasarian from Century 21. Since the event was free, there were also sponsors like Budweiser handing out beads to attendees, which made Oktoberfest feel more like Mardi Gras. Food and drinks were purchased with tickets with each ticket worth $2. In order to waive the attendance fee, the selection of German beer was also limited with only Hefeweizen and Oktoberfest brands available in most booths. For $8, the price was typical for an imported draft beer. They also sold a $10 German dinner that included two bratwurst, sauerkraut, potato salad, and rye bread. However, the portion was small, making it more like a German brunch than a dinner.
Montrose Oktoberfest was also an event for all ages, which meant there were plenty of children present. There were teenage bands performing onstage and tons of rides and games available, making the event seem more like a street fair. They even had turkey legs for sale. A word of warning. Do not attempt to ride the Zipper after having a German dinner and a Hefeweizer like I did. While it looked like a harmless ferris wheel from afar, it accelerated up and down at least four revolutions a minute, and on top of that, my car flipped over numerous times. It was quite nauseating.
As the sun began to set and children were sent home, the event started feeling more like Oktoberfest with a performance by the German-American Brass Band, a costume contest, and a stein-holding competition. Click here to watch a video of me participating in the stein-holding competition! My only complaint about Montrose Oktoberfest was their lack of organization. None of the information staff knew which booth the German dinner was located at, despite them promoting it constantly.
If you want a more authentic Oktoberfest experience that’s held inside a giant tent, then Alpine Village in Torrance is the place to be! Alpine Village is a German themed plaza that hosts the oldest and largest Oktoberfest in Southern California! Ticket prices are $20 for the 21+ event on Fridays and Saturdays. You can also attend the family friendly version on Sundays for $5 with kids age 12 and under entering for free. Compared to Montrose Oktoberfest, there are definitely more selection of beer in Alpine Village, including Pisner, Oktoberfest, and Weissbier. It costs $6 for a 16oz beer and $11 for a 32oz. If you want to drink in style, you can also purchase a boot-shaped mug for $17.
Although the food selection in both Oktoberfests are similar, Alpine Village also has its own restaurant separate from the Oktoberfest event! Golda ordered the salmon canape appetizer, which are crispy, fried potato cakes topped with refreshing smoked salmon and cream cheese. I got the chicken cordon bleu, which makes other fried chicken breasts look insignificant since this fried chicken is infused with black forest ham and swiss cheese! Our friend Allie ordered the pecan crusted salmon with rice pilaf. Alpine Village also has a German market, but it was unfortunately closed when we got there.
What I enjoy most about Alpine Village Oktoberfest is the energy emanating from the performers and crowd. Their German band interact with the patrons by standing on their tables and playing. They also have a very charismatic Heino impersonator (imagine a German beer-drinking version of an Elvis impersonator) and his female entourage to motivate the crowd to drink, do the chicken dance, and participate in their own stein-holding competitions. My only complaint is it does take a little longer to get in due to the security checkpoint with the metal detector. Based on this, I assume Montrose is a safer area than Torrance.
Montrose Oktoberfest was a fun, free event that was more street fair than Oktoberfest, but it’s a good way to introduce children to the holiday. If you want a more authentic 21+ Oktoberfest, then definitely go to Alpine Village Oktoberfest. It’s not on a budget unless you go on a Sunday. Parking in Montrose is limited to street parking, but Alpine Village does provide free parking in its parking lot! There is unfortunately no easy way to get to Alpine Village without a car, but you can take Torrance transit #1 from Union Station. Make sure to buy your ticket soon as the event will end after this month!!
So how did you spend your Oktoberfest?
Until next time,