Oktoberfest: Your 2018 guide to celebrations around San Diego County


It’s time again to raise a pint, or two. Oktoberfest returns with a number of festivities happening countywide, beginning Friday in La Mesa and El Cajon and continuing through Oct. 19 in San Diego.

In chronological order, here’s a list of where fest-goers can chug a stein of lager, savor some bratwurst and oom-pah-pah to their heart’s content. Most of the festivals are free, unless otherwise noted. Prost!

El Cajon Oktoberfest

4 to 10 p.m. Friday and Oct. 5; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Oct. 6; noon to 9 p.m. Sunday and Oct. 7. German American Societies of San Diego, Inc., 1017 S. Mollison Ave., El Cajon. $10 Fridays and Saturdays; $5 Sundays; free to ages under 21 and active military. (619) 442-6637.

Dust off your lederhosen and dirndls and spend the day celebrating with authentic German music and traditional food, beer, wine and other beverages. Held over two weekends, the festival features folk dances, games and contests, vendor booths and a Kids Zone. The Bavarian band Guggenbach-Baum will play polkas, waltzes and, of course, the chicken dance, as well as all the popular beer-drinking songs. The crowning of this year’s Oktoberfest queen will be part of the opening ceremonies Friday at 6:30 p.m.

La Mesa Oktoberfest

4 to 10:30 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. 8401 La Mesa Blvd., downtown La Mesa. Free admission.

Billed by organizers as “the largest Oktoberfest celebration in San Diego County,” the 45th annual festival has attracted more than 100,000 visitors since 1973. The three-day event features more than 50 food vendors, two beer gardens (with VIP passes), Kinder Karneval with a giant Ferris wheel, rock-climbing wall and massive inflatable slides, interactive art, brat-eating competitions and scavenger hunts. There’s also German glücklich games, including stein-holding and keg-rolling; traditional Bavarian and German music performed by rock, polka, country and cover bands. More than 30 local artisans will be selling art and German-style craft pieces at the Vendor Village. New this year, is the Dachshund Village made just for dog-friendly families featuring wiener dog races, a dog fashion show (all friendly pups are welcome), yodeling/howling/trick contests, and a pet expo. On Sunday, feast on an Oktoberfest Modern Times Beer Brunch at BO-beau Kitchen + Garden in La Meas Village. The four-course brunch and beer pairing is priced at $39.95 per person. Serving starts at 10:30 a.m. For reservations, call (619) 337-3445.

Encinitas Oktoberfest

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Mountain Vista Drive and El Camino Real, Encinitas.

The 23rd annual festival features authentic German music, carnival rides and a street craft faire with more than 200 vendors. Authentic German food and beers from German and local San Diego breweries will be served in the family food and refreshment tent and the Keepin’ It Local Craft Beer Garden. There will be a family fun zone with children’s rides and family-oriented activities. The Gemutlichkeit Alpine Dancers will perform traditional dances from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. A ceremonial parade kicks off the celebration at noon. Free parking will be available at the Flora Vista Elementary School at 1690 Wandering Road, where you can ride a free shuttle to the festival.

Carlsbad Oktoberfest & Family Fall Festival

Noon to 10 p.m. Oct. 6 at Holiday Park, between Tamarack Avenue and Carlsbad Village Drive, Carlsbad. Meal and admission ticket for ages 10 and older: $15 in advance, $20 at the door; admission only: $5 for ages 10 and older; children under 10 are free.

Get your yodel on as the Carlsbad Rotary presents its 36th annual Oktoberfest benefiting local charities. The daylong festival includes music, costume contests, arts and crafts, games, rides and performances by musician and puppeteer Ranger Jack. Expect some hearty, and healthy, German fare such as brat and sausage with potato salad and sauerkraut, and lighter dishes like grilled chicken and sides, and, of course, a beer garden. Satisfy your sweet tooth with munchies like apple strudel, kettle corn, cotton candy, pumpkin pie and fudge.

Temecula Oktoberfest

Noon to 10 p.m. Oct. 6. Galway Downs, 38801 Los Corralitos Road, Temecula. $20 general admission; free to children under 12.

Celebrate Oktoberfest with traditional music and beer, wine and German food for sale, along with costume, yodeling and beer stein contests. For visitor comfort, tents will be set up at the main seating area and surrounding areas of the event.

Ocean Beach Oktoberfest

3 to 11 p.m. Oct. 12; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Oct. 13. OB Pier parking lot and adjacent grassy area at Newport Avenue and Abbott Street, Ocean Beach. Free for entertainment; $5 entry for the beer garden each day. Opens at 11 a.m.

The 14th annual two-day eclectic, beachside festival features a variety of activities and entertainment. There will be traditional oompah music and local acts, along with food and craft vendors; a beer garden with authentic Bavarian and local brews; contests, including the sausage toss, stein-holding and brat-eating competition and the crowning of Ms. Oktoberfest. The Warrior Foundation Freedom Station will hold a microbrew tasting from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 13. Proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit combat-wounded veterans. Tickets for the tasting are $35 and can be purchased online at

German band Guggenbach-Baum kicks off El Cajon's Oktoberfest today with traditional music.
(Chadd Cady / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Coronado Island Oktoberfest

1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 13 at Coronado Ferry Landing, 1201 First St., Coronado. $36. Sales end Monday.

Even though traditional Oktoberfest officially ends Oct. 7, Coronado Island continues the celebration hoisting unlimited stein fills of more than 20 German and local craft beers from more than 10 breweries. Feast on modern German-inspired food from local restaurants while listening to live music from the Jaggerbombs, a lederhosen-wearing cover band. The family- and dog-friendly venue will also feature a vendor village.

Pala Oktoberfest

1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 13. On the lawn at the Starlight Theater, Pala Casino Spa & Resort, 11154 Highway 76, Pala. $45 per person. (877) 946-7252.

This outdoor gathering includes 16 beer brands, eight authentic German food stations, three wine varietals and traditional German polka rock music by Los Angeles-based Hammerstein Musik Bavaria.

Julian Oktoberfest

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 13-14. Rabobank parking lot, 2033 Main St., Julian. (760) 765-0613.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church will host the 23rd annual celebration with German folk music and folk dancers, arts and crafts booth, children’s activities, food and drinks.

Olivenhain Oktoberfest

Noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 14. Olivenhain Meeting Hall, 423 Rancho Santa Fe Road, Encinitas.

In honor of the community’s German founding fathers (Olivenhain is German for “olive tree”), the long-running free event will offer plenty of food, beer and authentic music. A nominal fee may be charged for dinner.

Rancho Peñasquitos Oktoberfest

6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 19. Hilltop Community Park, 9711 Oviedo Way, San Diego. Dinner plates: $5 per adult; $3 per child; $1 each for coffee, soda or water. Hilltop Recreation Center, (858) 538-8198; Canyonside Recreation Center, (858) 538-3131.

The Rancho Peñasquitos Town Council holds its annual celebration featuring a German dinner (bratwurst, potato salad, red cabbage, sauerkraut or coleslaw, roll and apple strudel); a beer garden with up to six local breweries; and German music performed by The Gordon Kohl Band. Proceeds from the beer garden will benefit the the town’s fireworks fund.