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Drink, Dance and Eat Oktoberfest Style with Nature Friends Tourist Club in Marin

This Sunday, the Marin Chapter of the Nature Friends Tourist Club opens their clubhouse for their annual Oktoberfest and Kinderfest celebrations. The Tourist Club is one of the area’s great treasures and this weekend is the chapter’s most popular event. The clubhouse is an Alpine style chalet on the side of Mount Tam with balconies and an outside dance floor that overlook Muir Woods. Club members will be pouring several German beers and selling home-cooked German food. Starting about 2, the legendary Joe Smiell and His Bavarian Band will be putting down the Bavarian style polka music and a folk dance group or two will perform periodically during the day.

Here are some hints for making the best of the fest:

• There's a small parking lot uphill from the club which fills quickly on festival days as do the shoulders along the adjacent Panoramic Highway. The Tourist Club was founded to get members out in nature and hiking in fresh air, so go with the spirit of the place by parking farther away and hiking in. The two direct trails to the clubhouse are the Redwood Trail, which is about a 20 minute walk, and the Dipsea and Sun Trails which take about 45 minutes to hike. There are other trails that connect with these two if you want to work up more of a thirst. See the map for some ideas.

• Space on the clubhouse grounds is limited; if the place is full when you get there you'll wait in line till someone leaves. Use the time to get to make some new friends.

• The people working the event are unpaid club members. It's going to be crowded so be patient with the staff and enjoy your fellow celebrants. If you want more space to move, put down your beer and brat and hit the dance floor.
 
12 till 6 pm, tickets are $15.  Cash only. Kids under 14 free. Leave your dogs at home. 30 Ridge Ave, Mill Valley, CA 94941, www.touristclubsf.org. See the map here