SAN DIEGO — Germany's Oktoberfest is a massive festival that draws more than six million people to Munich each year. While San Diego’s versions don’t amass numbers quite that high, they are a popular fall tradition with neighborhoods all over the county setting up stages and beer gardens to celebrate Oktoberfest inspired by the original Bavarian festivities. 

East County, La Mesa and El Cajon held their yearly Oktoberfests earlier this month while other parts of San Diego are still getting ready for events in Ocean Beach, Oceanside, East Village, and on the Broadway Pier downtown.

So, break out your lederhosen and raise a glass to this look back at several Oktoberfests from decades past. Prost!  

First up – a trio of La Mesa Oktoberfests!  

This News 8 video from 1977 comes without narration but delivers a look at the sights and sounds of that year’s La Mesa Oktoberfest. From a beer garden band to dancing to sidewalk sales, the East County edition of Oktoberfest looked as fun 40+ years ago as it is today.    

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Oktoberfest in La Mesa has been a tradition for decades and in 1980 - and many other years - News 8 was there. Reporter Bridget Asaro showed off the 6th annual festivities complete with strudel, bratwurst and, of course, steins of beer. 

In 1997, News 8’s Ronnia Loaiza covered all the food, fun and festivities of La Mesa Oktoberfest. Locals were shown filling up on apple strudels and getting down to the “Chicken Dance.” Even Ronnie couldn’t resist getting in on the flapping and spinning dance moves while participating in the Oktoberfest tradition. 

This quick look at Oktoberfest in Encinitas was shot in 1999. Music, brats, beer and a parade highlighted the North County San Diego celebration.   

Short but sweet, this clip from 2004’s Oktoberfest in Ocean Beach showcases the coastal community’s unique take on the celebration. In OB, the familiar beers and brats were paired with reggae music while flip flops and t-shirts took the place of alpine hats and lederhosen.