The month may be coming to a close, but it's not too late to lift a stein and kick up your heels to a polka to celebrate Oktoberfest. At least, that is what organizers of the first Oktoberfest at the Harbor Center in Costa Mesa are banking on.
Proceeds from the four-day festival, which opens today, will benefit Girls Inc. of Newport-Mesa, formerly known as the Girls Club. The organizers intend to make it an annual event. Admission is free. Food and drinks will be sold, as will tickets to carnival rides.
The entertainment will be in a giant tent-covered beer garden with seating for 800 people. Between 25,000 and 30,000 are expected to attend.
Those without a seat can head for the dance floor, which occupies almost half of the space under the tent. For your polka pleasure, local bands Tempo and the Bluebirds will be on the bandstand. Tempo, a three-piece band that performs traditional German music, will play on Thursday beginning at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, the Bluebirds, an oom-pah band, will strike up the brass sounds associated with the autumn German festival beginning at 6 p.m. both nights.
Other entertainment includes the Die Gemutlichen Schuhplattler Dancers, who will perform on Friday and Saturday evenings. The \o7 schuhplattler \f7 is a lively dance that involves slapping one's shoes and chest. On Saturday there will also be a \o7 karaoke \f7 sing-along and a pumpkin-carving contest. (Entries for the pumpkin carving contest must be submitted no later than 1 p.m. Saturday; the winner will be announced by 4 p.m. that afternoon.)
In addition to the carnival rides and games, there will be vendor booths selling arts and crafts and German food such as bratwurst, potato salad, sauerkraut, wiener schnitzel and Bavarian pastries.
A variety of German beers will be sold too, including Warsteiner, Bitburger Pils and Lowenbrau. And for those with a palate for domestic brew and an eye on their waistlines, Miller Lite will be available.
What: Oktoberfest at the Harbor Center.
When: Thursday, Oct. 24, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 25, 5 to 11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 26 and 27, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Where: 2300 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa. Enter from Wilson Street.
Whereabouts: From the San Diego (405) Freeway, exit Harbor Blvd., head two miles south to Wilson Street. The event will be at the south end of the Harbor Center at the corner of Harbor Blvd. and Wilson Street.
Wherewithal: Admission is free.
Where to Call: (714) 964-6656.