Oktoberfest comes to Cotati for seventh year

October is finally here. It’s the month of pumpkin-spiced everything, catching up with the Sanderson sisters while watching “Hocus Pocus” and Cotati’s seventh annual Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest is a German festival celebrating beer and German culture that dates back to 1810. The real festival takes place in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It draws in about 6 million people from around the world and lasts for 16 days.

Many cities around the world, including Cotati, host their own smaller versions of the world’s largest fair.

Held every year in downtown Cotati under a large tent at La Plaza Park on the corner of Old Redwood Highway and West Sierra Avenue, Cotati’s Oktoberfest has become a huge event in the community that brings together food, beer and live entertainment.

It was the idea of Sally Tomatoes’ owner, Gerard Giudice. For the past seven years, it has been a successful event like The Cotati Accordion Festival that is held in the same park every year.

“I went to Oktoberfest last year,” said senior Nick Kettenstock. “It’s a nice way to mix things up and have a good time eating great food and drinking great beer with friends.”

The local festival is free to attend, but for only $15 attendees can enjoy an authentic German meal of bratwurst, potato salad, sauerkraut and a roll along with a choice of beer, wine, root beer or water to drink.

Guests who do not wish to purchase the full meal can still purchase beer and wine for $5. There will also be commemorative beer steins for sale.

In the spirit of supporting the community, Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma is donating all of the beer for the event. Friar Tucks Pub and Spancky’s Bar, two of Cotati’s local bars, along with North Bay Brewery Tours and Redwood Empire Disposal are also sponsors of the event.

The Cotati Chamber of Commerce will be making and serving all of the food. They are also the organization responsible for putting on the event, which was attended by more than 500 people last year, according to The Press Democrat.

Eating and drinking aren’t the only activities that are available for festivalgoers. There will be raffles taking place throughout the day and multiple competitions. There will be a wiener dog race, where dachshunds will compete against each other. Later on, there will be a tankard hoist for men.

Lastly, the women can compete in a beer stein race, where they have to carry multiple beer steins in each hand while simultaneously racing each other and trying not to spill beer. All contests are free to enter, and the grand prize for each is $50.

Competitors and attendees are encouraged to wear traditional German clothing, such as lederhosen, which are leather shorts traditionally worn by working-class men in Germany.

Music will also be on tap, with the Karl Lebherz Band performing throughout the day. The Karl Lebherz Band is from Novato, and they play traditional Bavarian music at Oktoberfest’s and other events across the Bay Area.

This festival also provides a chance for Sonoma State University students to build and strengthen their relationships with the surrounding community.

“Sometimes, living in Cotati, I get fed up with the students who take over downtown on Thursday nights,” said Cotati local Elizabeth Hill. “However, they also redeem themselves at events like Oktoberfest. They’re polite and social, and they’re enjoying the benefits of living in such a beautiful area just like everyone else.”

Cotati’s Oktoberfest takes place from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12.