Oktoberfest in the Coachella Valley and Greater Palm Springs area
It’s that time of year again. Oktoberfest, the official Oktoberfest in Munich, runs from September 22nd to October 7th, but already many around Southern California are kicking off their celebrations. Big Bear Lake just kicked off theirs last weekend.
Read more about Oktoberfest: The Myths, The Truth, and The Beer.
What started off as a patriotic regional festival over 200 years ago, has gone on to become a huge tourist attraction, inspiring events and commemorations across the globe. With its heavy of influx of German migrants, the United States naturally sees some popular festivals, especially in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, with a pretty popular one in Torrance, CA too.
Thankfully for valley residents there’s plenty going on locally too. If you’re wondering where you can celebrate Oktoberfest in Palm Springs, the Coachella Valley, the Inland Empire or locally in Southern California we’ve put together a list of events and restaurant specials.
Here’s the Coachella Valley Beer Scene’s Guide to Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest at the Breweries
Coachella Valley Brewing in Thousand Palms will hold its “uber party” on September 22nd. It will coincide with the release of their CVB Märzen Oktoberfest, available in a 21oz CVB/Oktoberfest logo glass stein. The $12 stein comes filled with the Oktoberfest beer, and refills in the stein will be at the 16oz price for the rest of the year. There will be live music, competitions, and weekend favorites Gabino’s Creperie will be there, adding German crepes to their menu. Entry to the event is free.
La Quinta Brewing will have a release party for their Märzen, aka Desertfest, on September 14th, at the brewery in Palm Desert. The beer will also be available at several valley locations. Their Oktoberfest party will be October 27th, also at the brewery, with authentic German fare from Schnitzel Haus, German style beers, and a Bavarian band. You’re advised to purchase in advance if you want to guarantee a commemorative stein. There’s also a prize for best dressed German outfit.
Oktoberfest at Valley Bars and Restaurants
Yard House (September 24th to October 28th) will have an array of food specials and Oktoberfest beers. Food specials include a Double Pork Burger, Currywurst Poutine, Chicken Schnitzel, and Jumbo Bavarian Pretzel. The beer choices are: Samuel Adams Octoberfest, Ayinger Oktoberfest, Weihenstephaner Festbier, Paulaner Oktoberfest Wiesn, and Goose Island Oktoberfest. Each week, a different one of the five featured beers will be available for purchase in a limited-edition souvenir stein. On top of that, Yard House guests also have the chance to win a trip to next year’s Oktoberfest celebration in Germany.
Draughtsman, in Palm Springs, are hosting an Oktoberfest event on October 6th. They’ll have live music, Beer Brats, Kielbasa, Chicken Schnitzel Sandwiches, and Hot Pretzels. Guest brewers include Weihenstephaner, Claremont, and Figueroa Mountain, with souvenir tasting glasses. During the months of September and October, they’ll also have various seasonals on tap including Bell’s Oktoberfest and Claremont Bocktoberfest.
Other restaurants are still formulating their specials, and I’ll update as I get them. In the meantime, Bonta in Palm Springs and Schnitzel Haus in Palm Desert, with their German menus and German beers, are worth checking out.
More to Follow
Oktoberfest Events Outside the Desert
Note: I’ve tried to only include those that are within reasonable driving distance, but there are several to follow, especially in Los Angeles.
Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest is the best known in the Inland Empire. They’ve been doing it since 1971 and it’s grown to be one of the largest and most authentic on the West Coast. The festival runs every Saturday and Sunday from September 8th to November 3rd. Beers come from Paulaner, Warsteiner, as well as Hangar 24. They have a variety of food booths serving German food, entertainment, contests, and festival booths
Highland Springs Ranch & Inn, in Cherry Valley (near Banning) will have their Oktoberfest on September 15th and 16th. They make their own Bratwurst, Schnitzel, Pork Shanks, and there will be a variety of selections. Beers come from Spaten, Franziskaner, Konig, Leffe and Sam Adams. Admission is free. Parking is $5. Games for kids and adults including the Chicken Dance and Stein Holding contest.
Temecula’s 2nd Oktoberfest is taking place on Saturday October 6th from 12pm-10pm at Galway Downs. They have German music, food, beer, dancing, kids fun and more. Beers include Spaten Oktoberfest, Spaten Lager, Spaten Optimator, Franziskaner Heffe Weiss, Franzikaner Dunkel, and Stella Artois, as well as wine. Food includes German Potatoes, Bratwurst, Beer Brats, Knockwurst, Pretzels, Goulash, Rotisserie Chicken, Pork Chops Marinated in Beer, as well as non-German food. Games include Yodeling Contest, Sausage Toss Contest, Stein Holding Contest, German Costume Contest, and Beer Chugging Contest.
Redlands 8th annual Oktoberfest is October 6th, at Sylvan Park, from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. It’s a kid-friendly event, with a play area containing various games and a bounce house. There is plenty of fun available for the adults as well, with Costume contests, Yodeling, Stein Holding, and Hammerschlagen. Live German band performing favorite polkas, and multiple vendors with authentic German food. German beers include Spaten Oktoberfest, Spaten Lager, Spaten Optimator, Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse, as well as local craft from Ritual Brewing, Hangar 24, and Escape.
Beaumont’s 29th annual Oktoberfest is September 21st to September 23rd. They’ll have live entertainment, authentic food, contests, arts & crafts vendors, Weiner dog races, horse show, log sawing, stein holding, and a kids zone. Admission is free, parking is $5. Beers include Spaten Oktoberfest, Spaten Premium, Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, Golden Road Get Up Offa That Brown,
Bud Light, and Shock Top
Lake Arrowhead will have Oktoberfest every Saturday and Sunday from September 15th to October 28th. Admission is free. Beers include Spaten Oktoberfest, Spaten Optimator, Spaten Lager, Franziskaner Hefewiesen, and Stella, as well as wine. You have to buy a souvenir mug for $20, which includes your first beer. German food includes German Potatoes, Bratwurst, Knockwurst, Sauerkraut, and Pretzels.
Johnson Valley will have an Oktoberfest event on Saturday October 13th at 3 p.m. Their beers will all come from local homebrewers, featuring 9 German styles and 2 ciders, all brewed with Johnson Valley well water. There’s a German Buffet Dinner from 5-6 p.m. Advance tickets are $8, or $12 at the door. Beers are $3, or sample 3 for $4.
Which event are you attending? Please let us know.