A longtime Oktoberfest in San Diego’s La Mesa community returns – in-person – this weekend, with some COVID-era modifications. Here’s what you need to know about La Mesa Oktoberfest 2021.
What to Know
- When: Oct. 1 through Oct. 3, 2021 (kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday, then at 10 a.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. Sunday)
- Where: La Mesa Village in east San Diego County, specifically 8361 Allison Ave.
- Cost: Entry is free; bring money for drinks, food and to shop at local vendor booths lining the street party
According to organizers, the 2021 Bob Stall Chevrolet La Mesa Oktoberfest will return to the La Mesa Village this Friday through Sunday. The event is fully outdoors.
The 3-day event will include, as always, live music across several stages (yes, polka -- among other genres -- is happening here, folks), bier halls featuring local and German craft brews, food vendors, and activities for adults and kids.
Organizers said dozens of vendors will line the street festival this year selling all kinds of goodies. Entry is free, but bring money for drinks, food, and shopping. For more details on the activities taking place at this year's Oktoberfest in La Mesa, check out the event website.
As always, parking in the village is limited and tends to fill up quickly at this event. The best way to get to Oktoberfest is via the MTS Trolley. The Orange Line drops passengers off at the La Mesa Boulevard Station, right at Spring Street, at the entrance to the festival. MTS said trains will run every 15 minutes to the event.
Pandemic-Era Modifications: What to Know
According to organizers, in pre-pandemic times, the long-running La Mesa Oktoberfest was known to draw about 100,000 people to La Mesa Village over the span of three days.
Post-pandemic, the numbers will be smaller, organizers told NBC 7 on Wednesday.
Organizers said attendees should plan on getting to the festival early each day, as the beer gardens are expected to reach capacity. The Hofbräuhaus Biergarten holds 1,600 people, while the Craft Bier an Seltzer garden holds a max of 240 revelers. The full-service, sit-down Palm Avenue Bier Hall holds 270 people maximum.
Organizers have laid out their COVID-19 event safety plan on the event’s website, too, which includes some recommendations as the pandemic persists.
For starters, per state and local government guidelines, the mask policy is based on vaccination status.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask at Oktoberfest,” the event’s safety plan states. “If you want to do so, please feel free. If you are not fully vaccinated, we do ask that you “mask up.”
There will be free masks at an on-site info booth located by the Ferris wheel.
As for vaccination status, event organizers said attendees are encouraged to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but verification of vaccination status won’t be required at the event.
“It is up to each individual to take the appropriate action,” the safety plan added.
Organizers said hand washing and sanitizing stations will be set up throughout the fest, especially at entry/exit points and areas where payments are being handled. The full sanitation plan for the event can be found here.
The event has been running since 1973 – except, of course, for that little pandemic break in 2020. Last year, the La Mesa Oktoberfest’s in-person celebration was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic and local safety restrictions in place at this time last year. Instead, the 2020 edition morphed into a virtual party, much like many of San Diego’s biggest events did at the peak of the pandemic.
La Mesa Oktoberfest has been running since 1973 – except, of course, for that little pandemic break in 2020. Last year, the in-person celebration was canceled due to the coronavirus and the heightened local safety restrictions in place at this time last year. Instead, the 2020 edition morphed into a virtual party, much like many of San Diego’s biggest events did at the peak of the pandemic.
The La Mesa Oktoberfest website bills the event as the largest Oktoberfest in Southern California and the biggest of its kind in San Diego County.
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