East County beer celebrations
Bounce from one Oktoberfest to another this weekend. Here, the La Mesa celebration. Photo credit: @lamesaoktoberfest, via Facebook

It’s October. That really only means two things. Pumpkin everything you say? Well, yeah. Playoff baseball? A rare blessing indeed in San Diego, but sure.

No, we’re talking Oktoberfest and Halloween. Seems like every month celebrates beer in some way in San Diego, but this is the time of year that the revels take on a Germanic cast. Throw in some boos to boot and we’ve got all we need to make our ride to Oct. 31 complete.

What’s that got to do with this San Diego weekend? Plenty, because beginning Saturday and continuing throughout the month you’ll have many things beer-y and scary to choose from.

First off, a reminder: San Diego Restaurant Week, where dozens of local eateries offer special prix fixe menus, concludes Sunday. But will any of the them extend their deals? It’s happened before …

Second, Pacific Beachfest offers all the best in street fairs, but with views of the lovely Pacific too. Head to the boardwalk from Felspar Street to Thomas Avenue at 11 a.m. Saturday for entertainment on three stages, a fish-taco contest, and for kids of all ages, an “Action Alley” for the little ones and a beer garden for the big ones.

Now on to this month’s highlights. Grab a stein for Oktoberfests, breaking out throughout the county:

  • El Cajon – The German-American Societies of San Diego begins its two weekends of festivities on Friday at their HQ, 1017 S. Mollison Ave. German band, the Guggenbach-Buam will perform. Doors open at 4 p.m. Friday and noon on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets start at $5.
  • La Mesa – The free fest, from Friday through Sunday, takes place in the Village. There will be be beer and dancing, sure, but dachshund races too. Doors open at 4 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.
  • Public Market at Liberty Station – The Point Loma hub’s free take on the fun, Craftoberfest, concludes Sunday. Play games for prizes from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, including yodeling and costume contests and beer pong. Live music and DJs too.
  • Julian – The free fest, in the Town Square and Town Hall at 10 a.m. Saturday, includes performances, a silent auction and beer garden.
  • Carlsbad – This Oktoberfest, billed as the Family Fun Festival, opens at noon Saturday with live music, a costume contest, pumpkin patch and corn maze. Tickets, some which include beverages and meals, are available at the venue, the Carlsbad Strawberry Company.

Keep the chills coming ahead of Oct. 31 with these after-dark Halloween haunts (with more to come next weekend):

  • Haunted Hotel Disturbance Mission Valley – Zombies and “Stars of the Silver Scream” will roam the “hotel.” There’s ax throwing too (hopefully at the monsters). Admission starts at $28 for the attraction, near the Mission Valley Target.
  • Haunted Trail of Balboa Park – Stroll the mile-long route and you just might run into “chainsaw-wielding zombie rodeo clowns.” There’s the “Ghoul Bus” too. Admission starts at $28.
  • SeaWorld Howl-o-Scream – Returns for its second year with scare zones and places to shelter that might not be such a good idea after all. Watch out for the “Sea of Souls” too. Admission, separate from park tickets, starts at $40.



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Ellen Bullock