By Denise Ortuno Neil

It’s time to strap on your Lederhosen, dust off that Stein and brush up on a little Umpapa music. For the most popular reason to drink beer is coming to Palm Springs with Oktoberfest 2013. The world renowned festival will be spilling over into our quaint desert area with a modern day Bavarian twist.

Oktoberfest is a long adored German festival created in 19th century Munich Germany, born from love so long ago. When Prince Ludwig married his beloved Princess Therese, he wanted to share his elation with his citizens and threw an elaborate reception outside of the city walls. It was quite the shin-dig with horse-races, dancing, eating and the drinking of their favorite thirst quencher…bier.

The festival was so delightful the first year that they decided to continue it the next, and it became an annual event extending to weeklong festivities. Decades later, Oktoberfest went from being under royal rule to the jurisdiction of the city of Munich itself. The event later incorporated mechanical amusement including a carousel in 1818 and Germanys first roll-a-coaster in 1908 rounding out the full fair feel.

Germany’s Oktoberfest is the world’s largest fair, lasting 16 days from late September to the first Sunday of October. It had traditionally taken place on October 17th, but eventually was moved to late September to enjoy the warmer temperatures. All along the way, the occasion celebrated using beer as their centerpiece, growing to utilizing large tents to accommodate attendees. The largest tent, The Braurosol opened in 1913. Today, the largest tent holds 10,000 people and the festival goes through 2 million gallons of beer each year.

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German beer has had a turbulent upbringing. Formulated over 3,000 years ago by Germanic Tribes, it has overcome opposition, domination and has finally acquired a balanced existence.

The crafted German beer adheres to strict production rules called Reinheitsgebot, which basically means “Purity Law”. The law was put into effect in the 1500’s, to protect the consumer from drinking less than perfect potions. The beer was relegated to be made from the best and purest ingredients…water, barely and hops.

This law came a couple of centuries after the country implemented a container law, that was imposed to protect the public from wide spread disease like the Bubonic Plague that wiped out over 25 million people in Europe in the 14th century. That law brought Steins into action, as the lid of the Stein would protect airborne illnesses brought on by a variety of possible enemies, such as flies or people breathing. They were a kind of germ freaks, with absolute good reason.

It’s safe to say that the German Purity law has lent itself to the exquisite beer that Germany produces today, and for that we should be grateful. If great German beer is what you’re looking for, then the 2nd Annual Palm Springs Oktoberfest on Saturday October 19th is the place to be.

The Hocker Production takes place from Noon to 6pm at the Spa Casino in downtown Palm Springs and is set to transport event goers to the 19th century Bavarian culture.

The Palm Springs Oktoberfest is the passion of Executive Producer Jeff Hocker who is of German and Irish descent and is proud to bring part of his heritage to the Coachella Valley. Hocker is in his second year of Oktoberfest in Palm Springs and has some updated treats for this year’s celebration.

One of his favorite parts of the event will be the VIP section, which for $50 includes 10 tasting tickets towards wine or beer (no food), $10 Free Cash Play at the Spa Casino, Crater Lake vodka tastings, entertainment and a souvenir Stella Artois challis. The VIP shows are the highlight of the section and feature Zeldaz Nightclubs own Sweet Louie and the Men of the Hollywood Strip male revue and The Diamond Betty’s from L.A. who perform burlesque while paying tribute to famous Betty’s from Betty Grable to Betty Page. Also on hand for VIP entertainment will be San Francisco DJ Andy-T.

The Palm Springs Oktoberfest will have an abundance of German beers at this year’s event, a request; Hocker said was voiced by past attendees. Ask and you shall receive, with a huge selection of beers to choose from including the Coachella Valley’s own CV Brewing Company and Babes crafted German brews, plus beer straight from Germany such as Stella Artois, Becks, Spaten and many more.

There will be plenty of German food to go with the outstanding beer featured at the festival. Favorites provided by New Leaf Catering include Pomme Frites, Knockwurst, German Pretzels and no Oktoberfest would be complete without Strudel. Celebrity chef and sausage aficionado Adam Gertler of Food Network fame and Gertler’s Wurst, will be showcasing four of his delicious sausages. Awarding winning chef Johannes Bachar of Johannes restaurant in Palm Springs will also be delighting with his Austrian cuisine.

Music is an intricate part of any Oktoberfest, and the Palm Springs celebration will have an ear full. Two stages will help get the groove going with the Stella Stage, providing traditional music from Bavarian Stew and Highland Way. While the Leffe Stage rocks with Cougrzz and Scott Carter & New Breed.

Oktoberfest Palm Springs is an adult event, with only those 21 and older (proper ID required) admitted. General admission is $20 which includes 2 tasting tickets (no food) and a Stella Artois glass. Additional tasting tickets are available for purchase.

Whether Prince Ludwig threw the first Oktoberfest to celebrate his nuptials or just wanted to party with his subjects, it has become a worldwide phenomenon. It is a full-fledged beer lover’s party done Bavarian style, complete with oversized Krugs. So let us all hold up a glass, swing side to side and sing in unison with conviction…”Iche liebe dich bier”(I love beer)….and Oktoberfest is here!

For more information and tickets visit www.oktoberfestpalmsprings.com

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