Old World Village in Huntington Beach kicked off its 35th annual Oktoberfest in early September, and this year marks the first festival without the presence of longtime Old World pub Rathskeller.
"I would say it does feel like there is a hole in our heart here in Old World," said Cyndie Kasko, one of the owners of Old World German Restaurant. "It was such a staple. You knew people went to [Rathskeller] before coming to Oktoberfest."
The traditional German pub closed in March after the new owners of the building decided to turn the property into office space.
Monica Geub, whose parents owned Rathskeller, said the pub's absence "hurts Old World because we were the life of Old World."
"I've had a few people say it's not the same anymore since we're not there," said Geub, who now runs Continental Delicatessen, a German deli in La Habra that she bought in July.
Kasko said although the pub is gone, attendance at this year's festival does not seem to have been hurt.
The Oktoberfest celebration offers beer, bratwurst and sauerkraut, German music and a family day complete with daschund races. The biergarten offers indoor and outdoor bench seating, and attendees can buy cigars while drindl-clad waitresses walk around the tables selling shots.
"I love the music, I love the animation of the people," said first time attendee Audrey Dubuc of Huntington Beach. "I didn't know what to expect and I'm pleasantly surprised."
Oom-pah band Schwaubapower — whose members traveled from Germany to perform at the event — supplies the musical entertainment and keeps the crowd dancing with traditional German songs like the "Chicken Dance."
The festival runs Wednesday through Sunday until Oct. 27. Family nights are 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m Wednesdays and Thursdays. Admission is free and beer samplers are offered. Those under 21 must be accompanied by parents.
The event is limited to 21 and older from 6:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Admission to the adult nights, which feature beer drinking contests, is $20.
Kinderfest, a family day that features carnival games and daschund races, is held from 2 to 7:30 p.m. Sundays. The price is $5 for adults and $2 for youngsters, although those under 5 are admitted for free.