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Bavaria comes to town

Crowds flock to Oktoberfest while some wonder if the celebration is worth the effort.

October 01, 2011|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com
  • From left, friends Melissa Cueva, 30 of North Hollywood, Richard Courte, 30 of Toluca Lake and Kim Sparks, 28 of Burbank, have their photo taken at Sparky's Photo Booth at the annual Montrose Oktoberfest at the Montrose Shopping Park on Saturday.
From left, friends Melissa Cueva, 30 of North Hollywood,… (Raul Roa/Staff…)

MONTROSE — The smell of locally smoked bratwurst and freshly popped corn lured thousands Saturday to Honolulu Avenue to enjoy Bavarian-themed festivities at Montrose's 34th annual Oktoberfest.

Warm, sunny weather drew local families and Los Angeles-area residents to the Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event to enjoy beer, carnival games and music.

“The food is good, and it's for a good cause,” said Eleanor Wacker, who has attended the event since it started more than three decades ago.

Ticket sales from the event will support the chamber, which uses the funds to help local businesses with advertising and participation in city activities, Chamber Executive Director Melinda Clarke said.

The event not only provides entertainment for residents, she said, but it also “brings awareness to Honolulu and gets more people to come back.”

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Clarke said business owners in the Montrose Shopping Park want the event and often say it's their best sales day of the year.

Organizers also focused on keeping the event local to stimulate the economy, she said.

They enlisted the help of area food vendors, including Schreiner's Fine Sausages and Montrose Home Bakery, and local high school bands and entertainment acts.

“I feel like we really have a great event,” Clarke said.

Revelation Tops owner Carole Brookshire said sales at her clothing store are boosted by the event. Some new customers have found their way into her store because of the all-day celebration, she said.

But for some business owners, the event can have its drawbacks.

Margo Barsomian, who owns Margo's Discount Beauty Supply, said the event destroys her business because she can't receive deliveries, the smells from the food vendors overwhelm her shop, and her customers can't find parking.

Parking is also a concern for other business owners, who say some customers have to park blocks away from their stores during the Oktoberfest.

“We always wonder about that — ‘Is this really helping, or is this really hurting?'” said Carlos Carballo, owner of The Time Machine. “It's a hard thing to determine. Still, I think it's good to keep events going and to just keep Montrose at least in people's minds.”

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