FESTIVALS : Falling for the Old Oom-Pah-Pah

<i> Rick VanderKnyff is a free-lance writer who contributes regularly to The Times Orange County Edition</i>

Discovering a sudden fondness for lederhosen and tuba music? It must be that time of year, when Teutonics and non-Teutonics alike gather to drink beer, eat sausages and pronounce their Ws like Vs.

In the old country, Oktoberfest actually begins in September, but we on this side of the world tend to take the name more literally and do most of the celebrating in October. Thus, Orange County suddenly finds itself awash in celebrations of the German holiday this weekend, along with harvest celebrations of other stripes.

The biggest Oktoberfest celebration in Orange County is already underway at Old World Village in Huntington Beach, a compact shopping and dining complex built to look like an old Bavarian village, or at least what Americans think an old Bavarian village ought to look like.

The celebrating goes on Wednesdays through Sundays in the village’s Festival Hall, with lots of German food served buffet-style and plenty of beer, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights, when there is a 21-and-over age restriction. Cover charge on these nights is $10 and includes dancing to that tuba-driven oom-pah-pah music. Food and beverages are extra.


There is no cover charge, and no age limit, Wednesday and Thursday nights. Sunday is family day, when the celebrating happens in daylight. The cover charge is $3.50.

“People just sing and dance and have a good time,” said Betty Nolan of Old World. The celebrating goes on through Nov. 7.

In Anaheim, the Phoenix Club, Orange County’s home away from home for people of German ancestry, is also putting on a public Oktoberfest. Here, the emphasis is on authenticity, both in the music and the food.

The event continues Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 31, with admission pegged at $2 for club members and $3 for non-members. Entertainment includes rides for the kids, beer-drinking contests and instruction in the chicken dance, an Oktoberfest staple.


Other Oktoberfest celebrations Saturday include one at the Festival of Arts Grounds in Laguna Beach and one in Cypress.

In Fullerton, the Fullerton Hofbrau, a German-themed restaurant and brewery, will mark Oktoberfest every Sunday through the end of October with traditional German food and live music.

For something other than beer and bratwurst, Orange Coast College is putting on its annual Fall Fair on Saturday. This features exhibitors and workshops focusing on fabrics, clothing and food.

On Saturday and Sunday, meanwhile, it’s the annual Arborfest at the Fullerton Arboretum, boasting pumpkin patch tours, hay rides, a scarecrow contest, a plant sale and other down-home activities. Lederhosen optional.


* Old World Village Oktoberfest, with traditional food and music, along with beer. Hours are Wednesdays and Thursdays, 7 to 11 p.m. (free admission); Fridays and Saturdays, 6:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. ($10, 21 and older); Sundays, 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. ($3.50). Ends Nov. 7. Old World Village is at 7561 Center Ave., Huntington Beach. (714) 897-4086.

* Phoenix Club Oktoberfest, Saturdays beginning at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. through Oct. 31 at the club, 1340 S. Sanderson Ave., Anaheim. Traditional food, music and dancing are featured. Admission is $2 for club members, $3 for non-members ($3 and $5 on Oct. 30). (714) 563-4166.

* The Laguna Beach Oktoberfest will be held Saturday, Oct. 2, from noon to 11 p.m. at the Festival of Arts Grounds, 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. The festival will include live music and dancing, storytelling, the Scott Land Marionettes, Ben & Jerry’s Traveling Show and more. Various local charitable organizations will participate with booths selling crafts, refreshments, beer and food. $1 to $4. (714) 497-4609.


* Cypress’ annual Oktoberfest celebration, a fund-raiser for area arts programs, will be held Saturday, Oct. 2, from 4 to 10 p.m. at the city’s community center, 5700 Orange Ave. The festival will feature live oom-pah-pah music, a silent auction, a craft fair, contests, German food and an outdoor beer garden. $4. (714) 229-6780.

* The Fullerton Hofbrau Restaurant and Brewery, 323 N. State College Blvd., will celebrate Oktoberfest each Sunday in October, 4 to 7 p.m. The German-themed restaurant will feature live music and traditional food. (714) 870-7400.

* Orange Coast College’s annual Fall Fair, an exposition featuring more than 50 exhibitors and 120 workshops focusing on fabrics, fibers, fashions, furnishings and foods, will be held Saturday, Oct. 2, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the campus student center, 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa. $17.50 to $19.50. (714) 432-5880.

* A fall Arborfest will be held Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2 and 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Fullerton Arboretum, 1900 Associated Road, Fullerton. The festival will include pumpkin-patch tours, a scarecrow contest, face-painting, a plant sale, decorated pumpkins, farm animals, hay rides, butter-making and apple cider-pressing demonstrations, a circus, tours of the Heritage House, a bake sale and more. A $3 adult donation is requested. (714) 773-3579.