Encinitas history kept alive at annual Oktoberfest

ENCINITAS — Time to dust off your lederhosen and dirndl skirt. As summer winds down, plans are gearing up for the peak event of the fall — Encinitas’ 15th annual Oktoberfest and Street Fair, sponsored by the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 20. The event flows over five blocks at El Camino Real and Mountain Vista, and gives everyone a chance to eat, drink, shop and be German for the day.
Encinitas’ German roots go back to the northeastern colony of Olivenhain, founded in 1884 by German farmers. For more than a century, families such as the Wiegands, Eckes, Bumanns and Denks have contributed to the culture and character of Encinitas. Edgar Engert, chairman of the event and a longtime employee of Ecke Ranch, is a native of Kreinbach, Germany.
The event coincides with those being held in Deutschland, complete with German music, authentic German food, a beer garden and the street fair. The German cuisine will again be provided by “Big John” Haedrich from Tip Top Meats including bratwurst, pork chops and German meatloaf plus sauerkraut, potatoes along with a host of other food vendors for every taste. And what would an Oktoberfest be without the beer? For the adults, there will be a beer garden featuring Späten beer in the true German style.
To make things even more authentic, the day will feature Die Gemütlichen Shuhplattler dancers from the Anaheim German Cultural Center complete with historically accurate costumes their own accordian player.
“These are mostly courtship dances, centuries old,” said dance leader Dee Anne Gunnemann.
Every Oktoberfest must have some oompah music, and the Blue Bird Band will be on hand to make it happen. The band is made up of Southern California musicians, led by Ben Olariu, who put the band together in 1990. The band is a master of traditional German polka music, but also play tangos, waltzes, rumbas, cha-chas and other Latin music plus dance standards, rock ‘n roll, pop and jazz to swing and country.
This year’s fair also offers the opportunity to browse the outdoor street fair and booths selling everything from handcrafted jewelry to toys, tapestries to pet care. The fair also includes a variety of events, attractions, and a Fun Zone with a bounce house and more.
For sponsorship, vendor booth or more information, call the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce at (760) 753-6041.

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