Old World Village is the first to raise a stein this Oktoberfest season. The Huntington Beach party opened on Sunday, Sept. 8 and closes on Sunday, Oct. 27. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)
SUMMER INTO FALL: Even though most people know Oktoberfest starts in September, it can be hard to remember and embrace that in Southern California. Logically we understand that, because we know the great halls of Germany annually kick off this celebration ahead of the month within its name. We are aware, in other words. And yet when it is 100 degrees, or nearly, thoughts of October, at least the October and Oktoberfests of popular culture, remain far from the SoCaler's mind as she buys a replacement fan and wonders how much longer the heat will last. With all of this in mind, we're rather happy that Old World in Huntington Village gets its party going near the start of the month, when temperatures tend to be on the height-of-summer-y side in many local cities. It can be a respite and happy escape to enter the world of fall, complete with foamy cold beer steins and lederhosen and dances and wursts and such. That world, at least in Huntington Beach, opened for the season on Sunday, Sept. 8, meaning that even though it is still summer, it is Oktoberfest, too.
DATES AND DETAILS: Oompah bands and brats and beer and chicken dances and Sunday-sweet Dachshund races dot the full schedule (and ever-changing schedule, too; each week will bring something a little fresh to the party). "Family Nite" is on Wednesdays and Thursdays, while the Oktoberfest Parade rolls on Sunday, Oct. 29. And the kid-sweet Kinderfests? Those are Sunday staples during the run. Check the schedule before going, of course -- though you can bet brews and sausages will be there on pretty much any day you choose. And the final date of the run? The last Sunday in October, the 27th. Yep, we can feel fall on its way, despite those record-breaking temps. For that, we're glad of an autumn tradition's early annual beginning.