Redwood City OktoberFest gets hip 

Lederhosen, accordions and beer steins are part and parcel of Oktoberfest events, but Redwood City this year is combining the German-themed autumn festival with its annual October run on Saturday.

Runners may participate in either a half-marathon, a five kilometer run-walk or the 5Kolor Run, a 5-kilometer run-walk during which participants are blasted with colored powder every kilometer and at the finish line.

“The 5Kolor Run is just going to be insane,” said Jon Kaufman, an event organizer and member of the Peninsula Sunrise Rotary Club. “It’s one of the most exciting things, it’s just colored corn starch but it’s kind of crazy.”

In keeping with the new tradition, Redwood City’s OktoberFest and Run is getting a contemporary facelift, at the same time offering traditional entertainment, food and more than a dozen imported and craft beers.

“Most Oktoberfests, if you think about it, are not a place for teenagers,” Kaufman said. “Their ears bleed when the accordions play too long and they can’t drink beer. We want to include them, so we have the OktoberJam stage, which is specially designed for hip-hop, freestyle and break dance battles.”

Kids from local high schools are forming dance troupes to battle each other for prizes. In addition to the dance-offs, an urban art area equipped with paints and supplies is open to the members of the public, who may contribute to a 20-foot mural.

The mural’s theme is H2OpenDoors, a project of the Peninsula Sunrise Rotary Club that provides solar and wind-powered water filtration systems to third-world countries.

“One of the systems will be in Courthouse Square during the run, and that’s what the runners will fill their water bottles with all day,” Kaufman said.

H2OpenDoors has installed two water purification systems in northern Thailand, and will install another in Myanmar next year. Proceeds from runner registration fees benefit H2OpenDoors and the Redwood City Education Foundation.

On the entertainment agenda is local group The Internationals, playing traditional German music from noon to 6 p.m. Music and dance troupe the Golden Gate Bavarian Club follows until festivities end.

IF YOU GO

Redwood City’s OktoberFest and Run

Where: Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City

When: 8 a.m. to noon Saturday for run; noon to 9 p.m. Saturday for festival

Tickets: $15 to $70 race registration; free entry to festival

Contact: www.oktoberfestandrun.com

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Lauren Gallagher

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