Clayton, CA

Clayton Oktoberfest To Bring Out The Very Best Of The Contra Costa Town

Vince Martellacci
Last year's entertainers enjoying the festivities as they playAJ Chippero

Clayton Oktoberfest is the town’s biggest event in a sea of big events all year long. The event draws people from all over Contra Costa and earns money for the community topping off in the 100,000’s. Oktoberfest returns to Clayton Saturday, October 1st, and Sunday, October 2nd. We were lucky enough to get the organization that puts it on to talk to Newsbreak. The CBCA, Clayton’s resident nonprofit, business, and community-building association (Clayton’s small-town version of a Chamber of Commerce), is putting on Oktoberfest for the nineteenth year. Its organizers gave us a good idea about what attendees can expect at the event and the good that the event does.

What's On The Menu

The event serves up schnapps and a couple of other no-hop offerings, but always boasts, as its main event, several beers imported straight from Germany. This year, in a brand new move, those German beers will be matched against two locally brewed beers. A.J. Chippero, who runs marketing and more for the CBCA, shares, “This year we will have a second, smaller beer garden featuring Sonoma Springs Brewing Co. and Altamont Beer Works. Both breweries will serve a selection of their current IPAs.”

Both breweries are very local, based in Sonoma and Livermore, respectively. More than being local to the bay, A.J. highlights, “Shawn from Sonoma Springs is a local resident in [Clayton neighborhood] the State Streets, and John, a Clayton resident, is one of the brewmasters at Altamont.” Oktoberfest already sprawls across most of the Clayton town center, but this year the locally famous “corral” at the end of Main Street will be in play, hosting the second beer garden.

A.J. noted the popularity of IPA’s and the optimism the CBCA has in the experiment. But Marilyn Schmidt, a coordinator of the event, is likewise aware that it wouldn’t be Oktoberfest without authentic German beers. This year will feature storied German brewers Benediktiner & Weltenburger. Marilyn informs us, “The Weltenburg beers we are serving are a Marzen Oktoberfest Beer & a Dunkel Lager. This brewery is the oldest monastic brewery in Germany.” Marilyn adds that the establishment has been, “brewing for more than 1000 years. The Benediktiner brewer is also monastic but only 400 years old. We are serving their Hefe Weissbier and Festbier.”
Oktoberfest festival girls walk around handing out schnapps and feed the peopleMarilyn Schmidt

The Good That Oktoberfest Does

Clayton Oktoberfest will celebrate its nineteenth anniversary this year following a successful post-COVID 2021 return. The CBCA was formed in 1984 and is composed of more than just businesses. Many community members also join for the sake of community service and connection. According to the organization, “Most of the profits the CBCA earns go back into the community.” The organization has donation breakdown information readily available and is proud to say, “In 2019, the CBCA donated $150,584 back to the Clayton community with 57% going toward Schools/Education/Scholarships.”

Oktoberfest is always the culmination of an entire year’s worth of community-aiding events. The CBCA hosts events all year round, “including Clayton Art & Wine Festival, Clayton BBQ Cook Off, Clayton Oktoberfest plus the Christmas Tree Lighting and Dessert with Mrs. Claus.” They also manage the Bocce League and courts, Clayton’s unofficial local pastime. In addition to donating to local schools and continuing education, the CBCA donates 13% to treatment and support groups, 10% to the library, 10% to multiple local arts initiatives such as Clayton’s summer concert series, and more.

Oktoberfest will take place on Saturday, October 1st and Sunday, October 2nd, 2022 in the Clayton town center. To find directions, you can input “Downtown Clayton Flagpole” into your maps app. The festivities kick off with the opening ceremony at noon on Saturday and the equally ceremonial keg-tapping at 12:30 PM. From there, festival-goers can enjoy a full carnival for the kids, vendors with stand-out products and art, live music, and Bavarian dancers. The music starts at 12:30.

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I've covered stories of unknown immigrants from places like Cambodia, been an opinion editor and opinion blog writer, managed blogs for my own businesses & for other brands. I'm looking forward to getting back to more classical journalism.

Walnut Creek, CA

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