The nature lovers and festival enthusiasts of the German Tourist Club,
also known as Oakland Nature Friends, have been drinking beer from a
big cup, partying at noon, and chillin' in the sunshine since 1912.
United in a quest to celebrate fresh air and family fun, they dance,
they hike, and they prove that you don't have to live in the mountains
of Bavaria to revel in the age-old, quintessentially German tradition
of grooving on the forest. You can do it right here in the
sun-drenched, eucalyptus-scented Oakland hills. Visitors are allowed at
the alpine lodge most weekends (check the web site; there are some
restrictions) but the all-ages festivals are where the action is. The
next few months bring Biergartenfest, Herbstfest, and Oktoberfest,
where the best seats are in the nap-inducing Adirondack chairs between
the outdoor dance floor and the sausage vendor. Break out the
lederhosen and the fancy knee socks or come as you are, round up the
old folks and the kids, head for the hills, and get your polka on.