By Lisa Morgan –
It only took us 202 years to catch on, but at last, Palm Springs is bringing the annual German tradition of celebrating beer to the Coachella Valley! Saturday, October 13 at noon until 6:00 pm, in weather that promises to be absolutely gorgeous, more than 40 food, wine and beer tasting booths will be set up a long side of live bands and entertainment on two stages in beautiful down town Palm Springs in honor of the tradition known as Ocktoberfest.
The original celebration of Oktoberfest, began in Belgium in 1810, as a 16-day festival held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, running from late September to the first weekend in October. It is one of the most famous events in Germany and is the world’s largest fair, with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year to descend on the beer tents known to the locals “die Wiesn” – named after the fairgrounds themselves.
Our local, Palm Springs celebration will only last the better part of the day, but, in the spirit of its origins, promises to be packed with a whole lot of food, fun, beer, wine and entertainment. Octoberfest Palm Springs will also be much more accessible, located on the corner of Tahquitz Canyon Way and Palm Canyon Drive. Belgian and German Beers like Beck’s, St. Pauli’s Girl, Stella Artois, Leffe, Hoegaarden will be offered along with a wide array of “microbrews” or “craft beers” including Hangar 24, Stone Brewing Company, Firestone, New Belgium. Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse will be pouring HJ Summer Weissbier and Das Schwein Dunkelweizen.
The entertainment slated is bound to please anyone and everyone in attendance representing a wide range of music genres. “Stewedsheidzel/Bavarian Stew,” one of Southern California’s most popular German/Bavarian bands will provide the ambiance associated with Oktoberfest. The inspirational band “Soul Activation” will be bringing their unique sound mixes of rhythm and blues, funk, rock and gospel with a touch of jazz. “Cougrzz Rock,” the all-female rock band will pay tribute to rock classics, especially the female fronted bands of the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s on up to today’s rock artists. And if that’s not enough to tickle your musical fancy, make sure you treat your ears to the “Brian Nova Trio.” According to the Jazz Times, Nova, a Seattle based musician “is an accomplished guitarist, on both electric and acoustic, whose fingers lightly dance on the fret board exploring bossa grooves at breakneck tempos” and is accompanied by a band that “is clearly capable of capturing a groove and sticking with it.”
Oktoberfest Palm Springs is being produced by event guru, Jeff Hocker of Hocker Productions, whose list of local successes include but are not limited to; Palm Springs Opera Guild’s Opera in the Park, Palm Springs Food & Wine Festival, Food and Wine Festival Palm Desert and as Associate Producer for Fashion Week El Paseo. “I wanted to build an event in downtown Palm Springs that could become an annual signature event that would bring in tourists from outside of the region to enjoy our incredible October weather while sampling stellar beers, wine and European cuisine.” Jeff estimates an attendance of 1,500 plus to turn out to the event that will help our Coachella Valley and particularly, Palm Springs continue its growth as a “go-to-destination” favorite.
Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 upon entry and admission includes tasting ticket and souvenir glass and parking is free. Attendees must be 21 or over to attend. I would highly recommend paying a little more for the VIP Lounge. The VIP experience will feature stellar celebrity chef demonstrations from Adam Gertler, a Next Food Network Star finalist, and Chris Mitchum, executive chef of the Hyatt Regency in Indian Wells. Also included will be the top-notch vocal stylings of cabaret singers Darci Daniels and Bonnie Gilgallon. Top DJ Andy T, direct from the clubs of San Francisco will be there as well, along with many other surprises. The VIP ticket price of $50 also includes general admission and 6 tasting tickets, in/out privileges and a souvenir glass. Proceeds for the event benefit CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Les Dames d’Escoffier (providing scholarships for female chefs) and the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce. More information and advance tickets sales are provided at or you can call (760) 320-5272. Special room rates are available as well at Ace Hotel and Swim Club and the Riviera, Palm Springs with promotion code “OKTOBERFEST”.
Mark your calendars and support this fantastic celebration that promises to be an annual event and local tradition of libation inspired, food and musical fun that will be the “Prost” (that’s German for “toast”) of the town!


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