Once again, Oktoberfest was a big hit in Rio Rancho.

The event, which dates back more than 30 years in Rio Rancho, was hosted by the Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce and drew a crowd of more than 4,000.

There was beer, brats, Lederhosen and plenty of fun in the Country Club Plaza parking lot Saturday as the community got together to celebrate the chamber’s biggest party of the year.

“This is an awesome event,” said Kelly Jones, who moved to Rio Rancho from Japan this summer. “It’s great to see the community get together and have a good time.”

While Oktoberfest goes back three decades in the City of Vision, the first festival in Munich, Bavaria, in Germany began on Oct. 12, 1810. The first Oktoberfest was held in celebration of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, who later became King Louis I, to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festivities lasted until Oct. 17. The public celebrations ended with a horse race. After such a spectacular party, the happy couple decided that the same type of festival should be continued annually. In the following years, the galas were repeated every October, prolonged and eventually moved forward into September primarily because of the weather.

The party in the plaza has been growing each year since the chamber took over the event in 2019. Some Oktoberfest specials included beer releases, German foods, extended patios and live music. Prizes were awarded for best Oktoberfest outfit.

“It’s a festival; think about Sunday is Funday but with beer and a lot more food trucks,” Schalow said. “It’s our biggest party of the year. This has, by far, the largest attendance. It’s a lot of fun.”