Rotary clubs play host to Oktoberfest in Carlsbad

Rotary clubs play host to Oktoberfest in Carlsbad
Ryann Waldo, 1, searches for a pumpkin with her father Che Waldo on Saturday during the 35th annual Oktoberfest at Holiday Park hosted by the Carlsbad Rotary and Hi-Noon Rotary clubs. Photo by Steve Puterski

CARLSBAD — Lederhosen, food, music, beer and an all-around joyous atmosphere were on full display Oct. 7 at Holiday Park.

The Carlsbad Rotary and Hi-Noon Rotary clubs’ 35th annual Oktoberfest was another success as thousands poured through the gates. Proceeds raised by the clubs will be donated to local charities and nonprofits.

“We had a great event,” said Phil Urbina, the Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary Oktoberfest co-chairman. “We sold over 2,000 German dinners. It was just a beautiful day for a great community event.”

Two festival goers, Steve and Denise Haerr of South Lake Tahoe, donned their best German outfits to enjoy the occasion.

The couple were in town visiting Steve Haerr’s mother and stumbled across the event and had to attend.

In fact, Denise Haerr said they enjoy Oktoberfest so much that whenever they travel in late September or October, they research the closest festival.

One of the organizers, Phil Urbina of the Hi-Noon club, said early attendance was noticeably up compared to the past several years.

He said at least 5,000 people rolled through the gates, although he said it would take several days to get an exact tally.

The event was packed with musical talent, food, beer, dancing and a robust kids section with bounce houses, face painting and a pumpkin patch.

“It’s such a great Carlsbad tradition,” he added. “There were lots of people dancing, people playing musical chairs and kids games going on.”

The event also acts as a fundraiser for the rotary clubs with every dollar going to local charities, nonprofits and partners of the clubs. To date, “well over” $1 million has been raised through Oktoberfest, Urbina said.

“We’ve already been working on next year,” he explained. “We’re always looking for ways to improve. Our team has had emails going back and forth with suggestions on different ways we can improve. Just make it a greater experience and continue making it more successful overall.”

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