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SAN DIEGO — Beer enthusiasts and foodies are celebrating German heritage this weekend for the first in-person Oktoberfest in La Mesa since it was canceled due to the pandemic.

After being forced to go virtual last year, many grabbed their lederhosen and steins for the 48th year of the event.

“My grandma would be so happy to see me here,” guest Sierra Mabanta said. “She is in Germany right now. I’m going to send her all of the pictures.”

The festival is bringing three days of live music, Oompa bands, German food and craft beer.

“Oktoberfest in La Mesa is all about bringing the community together, getting local vendors, bringing people here with good food, good beer, crafts and activities that really connect us as a community,” said McKenna Jensen, of McFarlane Productions.

The event will feature three biergartens and performances by local and regional bands, including German polka bands.

“This is fun,” guest Erica Wehrung said. “We’ve both been to Germany. We’ve both been to Oktoberfest before, so it’s just fun to dress up.”

More than 100 vendors are also participating in the festival. Vendors are happy to be back to welcome beer enthusiasts back in person.

“This really draws attention to the local vendors, restaurants, breweries and small businesses here in La Mesa that need our support and need our attention and deserve everything that they’re getting here at the La Mesa Oktoberfest,” Jensen said.

Organizers said they are following all COVID Guidelines to keep guests safe. The festival is sold out all three days.