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Carlsbad’s annual Oktoberfest returns to Holiday Park on Oct. 5. Proceeds will go to various projects, nonprofits and charities. Photo via rotaryoktoberfest website
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Carlsbad Oktoberfest turns attention to food

CARLSBAD — Sauerkraut, lederhosen and, of course, beer will be flowing at the annual Carlsbad Oktoberfest.

The 37th edition, a fundraiser for the Carlsbad Hi-Noon and Evening rotary clubs, runs from noon to 9 p.m. at Holiday Park. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door and $5 for kids 10 and older.

All the proceeds will benefit club projects and donations to non-profits and charities, co-chair Vince Ponce of the Hi-Noon club said.

This year, though, the clubs are putting more focus on the food offerings as the event recruited a new vendor, That Boy Good in Oceanside for the German-style meals and Hans and Harry’s Bakery of San Diego for dessert, co-chair Jess Booth, of the evening club, said.

“It’s just turned into an enormous and successful community event,” Ponce said. “We are estimating well over 5,000 participants this year, and it’s really family centered. We are always optimistic that this will be our best Oktoberfest ever.”

In addition to the food, the event has also made strides over recent years to be more family friendly, Ponce and Booth said. The clubs created a kids zone featuring face painting, bounce houses and this year, a pumpkin patch nearby.

Attendees can pick out pumpkins and also engage in painting them, although there is no carving. Kids or adults can also enter a pumpkin-decorating contest.

Other features of Oktoberfest include bounce houses, face painting, live music, dancing, games, wine and craft beer, with offerings from Markstein Beverage Co. in San Marcos.

With That Boy Good, Booth said, the event will offer two German-style meals including chicken schnitzel with dipping sauces and a bratwurst, sauerkraut and German potatoes plate.

Although That Boy Good is known for its barbecue, Booth said the chef is multi-faceted and excited to prepare the German meals. In addition, pork sliders will also be offered along with homemade potato chips, street corn, pretzels, apple pie and strudel, which is courtesy of Hans and Harrys.

Of course, the clubs are in the final stages of preparation to culminate months of work.

“Now, we have one final push to get the most important people there, that is our guests,” Booth said. “We’re trying to get the word out as much as possible between our respective clubs. We are real excited.”

While the two clubs collaborate for Oktoberfest, the Hi-Noon club also hosts the annual Brewfest in early September. Those two events, Ponce said, allow the club to donate more to projects locally and abroad.

In total, last year’s event generated $40,000 benefiting 40 nonprofits and charities, Ponce said. Some of those include the Mexico House Project, where members build homes in Tijuana, and the club also finished a water filtration project in Fiji, he added.

Locally, the club helps fund Bikes for the Barrio, which builds bicycles and provides safety gear for underprivileged students at Jefferson Elementary School.

“We buy bicycles and assemble them as a club then provide them to the Barrio Association for distribution to students,” Ponce said.