Our Dates for the Oktoberfest 2020:
1st Weekend: Sept. 25, 26 and 27
2nd Weekend: October 2, 3, and 4, 2020
Hours: Friday 4-10 PM, Saturday 12-10 PM, Sunday 12-9 PM
Enjoy the opening Day Parade with Keg Tap and the crowning of our 2020 Oktoberfest Queen on Friday, September 25, at 6:30 pm!
Check out the Oktoberfest information here to get a taste of this year’s attraction:
Our Band directly from Germany: Die Guggenbach Buam
Come and enjoy authentic German food, such as bratwurst, ox-on-the-spit, potato salad, potato pancakes, sauerkraut, red cabbage, pretzels, and a variety of German pastries. We offer a great selection of German beers and liquors, and soft drinks and water, to enjoy with your friends and family!
Our band, the Guggenbach-Buam, joins us from Baden-Württemberg, Germany. These talented, entertaining musicians dress in traditional clothing, and play a variety of German music, just as you would hear in the beer gardens in Bavaria. Enjoy songs such as the chicken dance, polkas and waltzes, and all the famous beer-drinking tunes – new and old! Dance or sing along to some wonderful Oom-pah music!
Watch traditional folk dancing performances, compete in our numerous games and contests, check out vendor and craft booths, and treat your kids to their own Kids’ Zone. Bring your family and friends to El Cajon and experience a real German Oktoberfest!
How to get to Oktoberfest safely!
Due to low ridership and increasing use
of ride-sharing opportunities, we are not offering the free shuttle service any longer. Please use Uber, Lyft, Taxis, or other services to and from Oktoberfest, you can call one from home or from the Transit Center if you still want to utilize the trolley. There will be a drop off/pick up area in front of Oktoberfest where the shuttle stop was previously.
Be A Winner at our Raffle – Grand Prize: A Flight for two to Germany!
Raffle tickets are on sale throughout the fest, at $1 apiece or 6 tickets for $5. There will be prizes drawn for during band breaks, winners must be present, and a grand prize of a flight for two to Germany drawn on Sunday, October 6 at 8 PM. You don’t need to be present to win the Grand Prize.
The “Tap the Keg” opening ceremony has been moved to the opening night, September 28, at 7 PM. We’ll have a parade dignitaries, club VIPs, and others in traditional Bavarian garb (Trachten), the national anthems will be played, our new Oktoberfest Königin (Queen) will be crowned, and finally, we’ll tap the ceremonial keg!
Changes to our Shuttle Service: After several years of providing the free shuttle service from the El Cajon Transit Center to Oktoberfest (and back), our committee has decided to cancel that service. There are a few reasons including cost, number of users, and hours of operation. First, the cost is very expensive, and the number of users has been so low that it’s not paying for itself. Also, more of us are taking advantage of the ride sharing services, as well as local taxi cabs, we think is a better option. Some may still come from the Transit Center, many more are getting picked up and dropped off at home. We’re going to keep the front open as a drop off and pick up zone, and encourage our guests to use these services. We reached out to Uber to see if we could work out some sort of deal with them, maybe a discount for our riders, a code to add when requesting a ride, even awareness that our event was taking place so they’ll be in the area ready for us, but we were turned down flat. If anyone has contacts with Lyft or another ride share service, please provide contact info, and we’ll try to work with them. One last reason we stopped the trolley is that many people are using ride sharing anyhow, as the trolley service stops before many of our patrons are ready to go home! We hope you understand.
The history of the Oktoberfest
Four years after Bavaria was elevated to the status of a kingdom, the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, to Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen took place on 12th October 1810. The official celebrations of the wedding lasted five days and were mounted as a great ovation to the ruling house of the young kingdom. Both radiant and at the same time popular, the celebrations were performed on the stage which was the whole of Munich. The parade of the marksmen of the National Guard and of the civilian shooting societies, illuminations and music, eating and drinking, with kettle drums and trumpets– an enormous festive atmosphere filled the center of the town.
The dynasty of the Wittelsbachs demonstrated its closeness to the people and thereby at the same time thanked its subjects, who patience had been sorely tried through the ties with France and the wars resulting from it, by expanding territories and administrative reorganization. A great festival as an attempt to establish an identity for the ‘new’ Bavarians and direct their attention to the capital and seat of the king and the Bavarian rulers’ house came just at the right time. The celebrations even then referred to as a “popular festival” in the center of town were concluded on the 17th October with a horse race on a meadow outside the gates of the town. The highest permission for this competition was obtained by “individuals classified in the Cavalry Division of the National Guard, third class,” under Major Andreas von Dall’Armi. Children in Bavarian national dress paid homage to the Royal family that was present with poems, flowers and fruits of the land. In honors of the bride the festival grounds were called “Theresens – Wiese”. And today the Oktoberfest venue is still called: “Theresienwiese” – in common Munich parlance “the Wiesn” for short. The subsequent horse race was won by the National Guard Cavalryman and hackney coachman Franz Baumgartner, who is alleged to have proposed this event. The 1810 horse race was meant to revive the famous “scarlet race”, which was last held at the Munich Jacob’s Dult in 1786.
1810 to 2010 – 200 years of Oktoberfest
The “Anniversary Celebration 200 Years of Oktoberfest” in 2010 was dedicated to the origin and history of the world’s largest folk festival. This unique festival in the southern part of Theresienwiese entertainment that has become rare, such as nostalgic merry-go-rounds and public spectacles, horse races and animal shows, art, culture and historical customs, special culinary delights and a multifaceted program for children. Following the outstanding popular success in 2010 of the “Anniversary Celebration – 200 Years of Oktoberfest”, the “Vintage Wiesn” (“Oide Wiesn”) will present a nostalgic reminder of the festivals of bygone decades also in 2011 in the southern part of Theresienwiese.
Today the Oktoberfest – the festival of Munich the capital of Bavaria – is regarded as the largest funfair in the world and is known on all continents. What is special about the Oktoberfest is that it has managed to perform with ease the difficult balancing act between a festival for the people of Munich and a major international event; that it remembers its roots and is open to new developments. The typical mix of high-tech and tradition today sets the tone of the festival of festivals and constitutes its great attraction.
The Story of the Pretzel
The pretzel symbol is a rune from the ancient Germanic times – long before there was an alphabet established – and was the sign for life, as it begins thinly, intertwines, gets thicker and flares out (just like life) into a circle and comes back to a thin end. The Story of the Pretzel – Brezel
The spelling with a “P” is English. In Germany it is spelled with a “B”, and so also the word starts softly, becomes strong with the “z” in the middle and rolls out into the “l”.
Bread has often been considered the “staff of life”, and this symbol became the sign for the bakers’ guilds. Just as the horseshoe was the sign of the blacksmith, the pretzel was the sign of the bakery.