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Oktoberfest shows up early in Long Beach

Jodie Hetzler and her kids Jake, 7, and

Jodie Hetzler and her kids Jake, 7, and Ava, 5, attended an Oktoberfest Spring Fest event in Long Beach Saturday. (April 30, 2011) Photo Credit: Photo by T.C. McCarthy

No, that wasn’t your calendar deceiving you in Long Beach Saturday. It was Oktoberfest -- in April.

At the inaugural “Spring Fest,” a little bit of Germany made its way to the Sweet Retreat ice cream parlor's parking lot. Andrew Hetzler, of Atlantic Beach, specializes in staging the German festival and pitched the idea to Sweet Retreat, which recently changed hands.

“It’s a nice festival to bring the community together,” he said. “I had the idea if we could have a fest with the nice weather of spring and bring it all together I think it would be a big hit.”

A portion of the proceeds from food purchases, face painting and other activities are going toward the Ronald McDonald House, the Pediatric AIDS Foundation and the German-American Hall of Fame, a nonprofit that works to recognize Americans of German heritage.

While much of the crowd came out in jeans and T-shirts, a select few showed up in traditional lederhosen and dirndls. Jodie Hetzler and her kids Jake, 7, and Ava, 5, were all decked out and looking forward to what the event had to offer.

“We came out to support our family [heritage] and see our friends,” she said. “There’s some great German food here.”

Bratwurst, wienerschnitzel and beer are set to be served until 9 p.m.

Check back soon for a video feature.

Above: Jodie Hetzler and her kids Jake, 7, and Ava, 5, enjoyed Saturday's Oktoberfest event in Long Beach.

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