Scaled-back Oktoberfest still rolls out fun - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Scaled-back Oktoberfest still rolls out fun

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LA MESA (CBS 8) - Last year, La Mesa's Oktoberfest suffered a financial hangover, but that did not stop this year's party from kicking off Friday, and the fun lasted into the night.

This year, the event is being scaled down.

In order to have a more traditional German festival and in efforts to keep costs down, the La Mesa Village Merchants Association scaled down the typically five-block fest to three blocks and also changed the time to end one hour earlier.

Off to a rocking start, the La Mesa mayor Mark Arapostathis did the Oktoberfest opener of tapping the keg and the festival continued with a dance. 

And off and away the crowds were on the newly in place city sidewalks.

"This morning I had guys starting at 5 a.m., to put in some railings for three sidewalk cafes in the downtown," said Greg Humora, La Mesa Director Of Publics Works.

Attendees will notice other slight changes.

"This year is a little smaller, we want to bring it back to the German, we have the German bands, the costume contest is a little different and we have the beer is what's different." said Arlene Moore, President, La Mesa Village Merchants Association.

Scaling down to a two-day event on the village east of Spring street.

"It's so hard to replicate it on both sides, we would replicate everything on both sides and to cross Spring, it's just too hard," Moore said.

The La Mesa Village Merchants association split from the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce.

The association owed the city more than $30,000 for the cost of police and traffic control from last year's fest, but the group worked out a deal by shrinking the event in order to pay the debt.

"Cut it down size wise which I was very disappointed with since there's not as much seating capacity in here any more, not chairs like there used to be, I've enjoyed it more in the past because there was a lot of room." Said Ray Blanchard, At Oktoberfest.

A lot to drink and eat which keeps crowds coming.

"It's great, we love that this is a family beer garden  because there's an over 21 beer garden  which we weren't allowed in because of the little guy," said attendee Alison Nicholas.

Despite there being no carnival rides, kids were able to have a ball.

"It's nice, you know, still the same atmosphere and lots of fun and everything," said Kimmi Davis at the event with her three children.

Oktoberfest will go on again Saturday from noon to 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce will host its own beer garden event called "Fall Fest" in the Grossmont center on October 16 and 17.

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