OAKLAND -- The otherwise quiet streets of the Dimond District exploded into a block party Saturday as a bevy of revelers descended on the neighborhood at the sixth annual Oaktoberfest.
Roughly 15,000 people attended the event held at MacArthur Boulevard and Fruitvale Avenue, event organizers said, on a warm afternoon when revelers took delight in cold craft beer, cocktails, food, music, dancing, goods and a children's root beer tent as well.
Although the crowds were too much for some -- attendees bemoaned long lines to buy tasting tickets and congestion in the streets -- others said the festivities brought various demographics together, celebrating Oakland's eclectic population.
"I like everyone being thrown together," said Leticia Javier, a 25-year-old Oakland resident who was sampling a beer that did not suit her palate.
The seven-hour event featured three stages with performances by live bands, DJs and classical string instruments playing pop hits and dance groups. Twenty-two craft breweries from the Bay Area and one Juneau, Alaska, brewery offered tastings for $5 per mug. Oakland breweries included Beer Revolution, Brozeit Lokal, Linden Street Brewery, Line 51 Brewing, Oakland Brewing Company and Pacific Coast Brewing Co.
"It's good," said Pat Martinelli, 30, of Oakland. "Better than a bar."
The diversity among breweries was a highlight to Jason Petros, a host of an online radio talk show dedicated to home brewing. The Brewing Network, found online at www.thebrewingnetwork.com, offers interviews and chats with craft and home brewers.
Petros, who hosts a show called "Dr. Homebrew," said the original programming is a way for home brewers to garner trade tricks from those working on a much larger scale.
"You would think, like, what do we talk about? But what we talk about with the craft brewers you can relate it to home brewing too," Petros said. "We call it beer entertainment. We do goof off, then we have the interview and the last part is a free-for-all."
Petros added that events like Oaktoberfest help encourage those interested in home brewing and engage the public more in the local craft brew market. While Oaktoberfest offered nothing but good times to those in attendance, organizers saw a more lucrative reason for the block party.
Hosted by the Dimond Improvement Association and the Dimond Business and Professional Association, the event serves as a major fundraiser for the Dimond community. Fran Donohue, a Dimond Improvement Association board member, said the annual festival generates $12,000 to $15,000 in net profit for the two organizations, which serve to enhance the community and central Oakland as a whole.
"It's really about supporting Oakland," she said. "It's been great. Business has been constant, we're very packed. It's great attendance."
For more on the Oaktoberfest in the Dimond District, see the Tout videos at www.tout.com/embed/touts/wdd6px and www.tout.com/embed/touts/wyn8oh.