Few places in the United States are as beautiful as Lake Tahoe in the fall, and recent rains, even snow, have helped freshen the landscape and discourage the fires. Suitably, the season is celebrated at Camp Richardson this weekend with its 20th Oktoberfest, which is, unlike some same-titled events in casino parking lots, an event just as much for the family as the beer-and-brats crowd.
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, there will be owner-and-dog dress-up competitions, German food and desserts, craft booths, face painting, a pumpkin patch, a bounce house, bungee jumping, and a beer and wine garden. Polka music will be provided by the Gruber Family Band. The featured food is bratwurst infused with Ninkasi Total Domination IPA, and the stout of heart (and perhaps of stomach) can sign up for the sausage-eating contest at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Other contests include stein-holding and yodeling.
Vendors at this event are selected with an emphasis on Tahoe – Tahoe Mountain Soap, for instance, along with Tahoe Bathworks, High Sierra Crystals, RISE designs and others. The ice cream parlor and coffee shops will be open, and boat rentals and paddle boarding will be available at the marina. The resort’s Rum Runner cruise will be available both days, at 1:30 and 3 p.m. for a round trip to Emerald Bay ($49 general, $19 children). Admission to the Oktoberfest itself is free. Camp Richardson is on the lake’s southwest shore. (More information: www.camprichardson.com)
Those who want to stay out a little later Saturday can check out the Dave Mason Traffic Jam concert at Harrah’s Tahoe. Mason has named his latest band after his success with Traffic and his recruiting talents to join him. The show will include his hits, of course – songs such as “Feelin’ All Right” and “Hole in My Shoe” – along with deeper album cuts from “Mr. Fantasy” and “Traffic.” A lot of good music came out of that communal home in the Berkshire countryside of England. (7:30 p.m. Saturday; $46.20; www.ticketmaster.com)
The Chris Gardner Band has been all over the Central Valley lately, and this weekend finds it as busy as it has ever been: Goldfields on Friday, the Salmon Celebration in Lincoln on Saturday afternoon, the Valencia Club in Penryn on Saturday night, and Cache Creek on Sunday afternoon (5 p.m.; free with club card or $20; www.cachecreek.com).
Cache Creek also hosts a round of the San Francisco Comedy Competition on Friday (9 p.m.; free with a club card or $20). There also will be two concerts featuring Vietnamese artists, headlined by Chieu Thu at 7 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday. These too are free with a club card; tickets will be distributed on a first-come first-served basis starting at 5 p.m. at Guest Services.