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November 25, 2020
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Cotati Oktoberfest on the horizon

By: Irene Hilsendager
September 20, 2019

In 2006, a lederhosen air bubble popped over Gerard Guidice’s head. Where is this story heading? To the first Cotati Oktoberfest with Suzanne Whipple, Pat McCarty, Andre Morrow, Mike Pastryk, Nadine Wolf from the Exchange Bank and Tom Scott from Oliver’s.

It was with a leap of faith that Gerard and Suzanne put into gear since Suzanne Whipple and Suzanne Guidice are both of German descent.

Gerard loves to cook German food and his wife Suzanne fries up a delicious pan of Schnitzel so it would make sense if they found enough German people around the area; probably an Oktoberfest would be something Cotati could continue.

Who wouldn’t love to eat brats, potato salad and schnitzel in the open aired La Plaza Park right smack in the middle of downtown Cotati?

So, the first annual Oktoberfest was brewed by the Cotati Chamber of Commerce. There was food, singing and dancing on a plywood floor thrown in front of the stage. 

Music was supplied by Tony Raymann’s Edelweiss Band, Karl Lebherz Band and the choral music was supplied by the Redwood Empire Saenger Chor along with Almenrausch Schuhplattle dancers from San Francisco.

October 13, 2006 was a very pleasant day with a very large crowd for the first Oktoberfest in Cotati. Huge tents were set up in the park, gaily decorated in the German Bavarian style.

The event has since progressed to prizes for the best costumes, wiener dog races, beer filled steins held abreast running racetrack and lederhosen young and old would hold tankards filled to the brim with beer and arms outstretched to outlast each other. 

The Oktoberfest in Munich always gets started when the mayor taps the first keg. Cotati doesn’t have kegs to tap and normally a beer truck fills the red cups and beer steins, usually a souvenir from prior years.

The Oktoberfest began in Oct. 12, 1810 with the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princes Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen in Bavaria.

Today Munich Oktoberfest is held in September and lasts for 16 days always ending on the first Sunday of October. Cotati’s 13th annual Oktoberfest will be held Oct. 12 in the La Plaza Park starting around noon. Food and drinks are available while sitting under the tent to listen to good old German music. A meal with beer or wine is $15 and glass steins are also available to purchase.

Call the Cotati Chamber for more information at 707-795-5508.