Bands, Beer and the Beach: OB Oktoberfest Returns

The 15th annual OB event is "Southern California's only Oktoberfest party at the beach"

Prost! Break out the lederhosen, pretzels, and polka tunes -- it’s Oktoberfest season. And of course, it wouldn't be San Diego without a waterfront stein-hoisting celebration.

Billed as "Southern California's only Oktoberfest party at the beach," the 15th annual OB Oktoberfest brings the suds to the surf on Oct. 11-12 at the foot of Newport Avenue and Abbott Street.

Naturally, all the fun you'd expect from the traditional German culture/beer festival will be featured during the two-day event such as a bratwurst-eating contest, beer garden (duh), stein-holding contest, food and arts-and-craft vendors, a balloon-blow contest, ticket giveaways courtesy of 91x, cornhole, a Mr. and Ms. Oktoberfest contest -- and live, local music galore.

Emceed by Jose Sinatra, Friday's fun is kicked off at 4 p.m. with Funk N' Stein and Maka Marley, followed by Country Rockin Rebels and their "too rock for country, too country for rock" tunes. To wrap up the night right, two tribute bands take center stage -- Paging the '90s and then Electric Waste Band (a Grateful Dead cover group that opened a Padres game recently and regularly features Bill Walton on percussion).

The following day, Mango Habanero (purveyors of genres like funk, rock, reggae, fusion, ska, you name it) kick off the festivities after Funk N' Stein. Unsteady drop ska gems, High Tide Society serve up tasty early-'70s and '80s yacht rock faves, and Band of Gringos let loose with their old school soulful rock & roll. San Diego's premiere Afro-funk/soul-jazz troupe the Sure Fire Soul Ensemble (which just dropped an excellent new album titled "Build Bridges"; check it out here) hit the stage at 8:30 p.m., until celebrated roots reggae and dub group One Drop cap off the evening's fine, lively soundtrack for the local craft-beer-infused crowd.

While OB Oktoberfest is free to attend, entry to the 21-and-up beer garden costs $5. On Oct. 12, brew enthusiasts can also enjoy the OB Oktoberfest Brewfest from noon-3 p.m.; proceeds from those $40 tickets will benefit wounded U.S. veterans.

OB Oktoberfest hours: 4 p.m. to midnight on Oct. 11; 11 a.m. to midnight on Oct. 12.

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