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La Mesa’s Oktoberfest returns in person after two years

Vendors set up along La Mesa Boulevard for the 42nd annual La Mesa Oktoberfest, Oct. 2, 2015.
Matthew Bowler
Vendors set up along La Mesa Boulevard for the 42nd annual La Mesa Oktoberfest, Oct. 2, 2015.

Bavarian traditions resume in the La Mesa village this weekend, with beer gardens, bratwurst, live music and more. La Mesa’s Oktoberfest is resuming fully in person this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, after going partially virtual last year due to the pandemic. This is the event's 48th year.

Last year, festival goers purchased food and beer to-go and watched Oktoberfest's virtual event.

Oktoberfest event coordinator Laurel McFarlane, and Bernadette Tarantino, an owner of Tarantino's, a long-time vendor at the festival, spoke with KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday about how the festival is planning to operate safely amidst the ongoing pandemic.


McFarlane is also the president of the San Diego Event Coalition, which during the pandemic wrote a 70-page document on how to hold events safely. She said that for the La Mesa Oktoberfest many safety measures have been put in place.

“We have 27 hand sanitizer stations that will be stationed throughout the entire event. We have a 'Hot Shot clean team' that’s going to be in all the beer gardens and all the high-touch points wiping things down constantly. We have free masks at the information center and Ferris wheel booth. We also have COVID guidelines. All of our bar staff have to prove they are vaccinated, if not they have to wear a mask, our production vendors, well everybody who’s coming on site will be screened prior to being allowed on the site at our production tent. We have a whole list. We have a COVID Plan on the website,” McFarlane said. “We want to put on a fun event, but we also want people to know that measures have been taken to help people have a safe event, and we’re following all the guidelines put out for events by the California Department of Health, and going above and beyond as well.”

The festival starts on Friday and runs from 4 -10 p.m., resumes on Saturday from 10 a.m.- 10 p.m., and the last day is Sunday, from noon- 8 p.m.

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