El Cajon Claims "True Oktoberfest"

LA MESA -- It was quiet in downtown La Mesa today, except for the whirring sounds of machines preparing La Mesa Boulevard for the three-day influx of thousands of visitors for the annual Oktoberfest later this week.

But just a bit east of La Mesa, a war of words was heating up.

As the El Cajon City Council met for what looked on its agenda would be a routine meeting, Mark Lewis, the mayor of La Mesa's eastern neighbor, rose from the dais, donned a chicken cap and declared his city as the true keeper of the Teutonic traditions.

"Ours is the true Oktoberfest,'' Lewis said. "We have the genuine food, we have the genuine beer. That other one (in La Mesa) is really just a swap meet.''

Lewis read a proclamation honoring his German Society's Oktoberfest, which starts this weekend even as La Mesa is celebrating what it likes to call the biggest gathering of its kind in the West.

In this modern age of communication, Lewis' shot at La Mesa was quickly spread through tweets and facebook posts with residents of both communities instantly reacting with friendly barbs in all directions.

But only the readers of LaMesaToday.com will see the photo (above) that puts this whole rhubarb in proper perspective.

El Cajon's smaller, but perhaps more Teutonic event, runs this weekend and next at the German Club on Mollison Avenue. La Mesa's massive beer fest runs this weekend and includes rides and vendors -- the latter of which is what Davis says inspires his "swap meet'' evaluation.

La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid heard about Lewis' comment but didn't enter the fray directly. Instead he challenged Lewis to a bicycle race with each mayor racing to each other's city hall. Madrid didn't mention it is uphill all the way from El Cajon.



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