Solheim welcomes community with live music and German beer at Oktoberfest

A live performance takes place at the Eagle Rock Oktoberfest hosted by the Solheim Senior Community in Los Angeles, CA. Sept. 24, 2022. Alexia Lara/The Occidental

Solheim Senior Community held its annual Oktoberfest celebration Sept. 24 for the first time since the pandemic began. The event was held at their outdoor space on Merton Avenue, where a live Bavarian band performed and staff members served authentic German beer and bratwurst. Leading up to the event, Tina Antypas, the director of development at Solheim and organizer of Oktoberfest, said she made flyers to advertise it around Eagle Rock. Antypas said the event is an opportunity both to bring their community together and to fundraise for the center.

“We celebrate and give people an opportunity to invest in Solheim and support us in many ways, through volunteering here as well as monetary donations,” Antypas said.

Tony Bagan, who said his mother is a current resident at Solheim, attended the event for the first time with his family. Bagan said that Solheim is an important part of Eagle Rock.

“I think every community should have places for people in all stages of life, so it’s great that Solheim is here and accessible in Eagle Rock,” Bagan said. “I think it’s great that they’re opening it up to the public, so hopefully they get to learn more about Solheim and the residents.”

According to Antypas, people across many generations come to celebrate Oktoberfest. Residents attending the event, some with family members, mingled around the colorful tables, sharing German beer while singing along with the live music.

Workers and Volunteers of the Solheim Senior Community Center serve food at the Eagle Rock Oktoberfest in Los Angeles, CA. Sept. 24, 2022. Alexia Lara/ The Occidental

Antypas said that since supporting the local community is important to Solheim, all the food and beer are from local German businesses.

“We always try and work with our local organizations and businesses and make sure we secure our German beer,” Antypas said. “One of the things that is most important to us is that we do it as authentically as possible.”

CL Keedy, who is the treasurer for the board of directors at Solheim, said that the attendance at Oktoberfest looked better than it did in previous years.

“I think that the fact that we’re here and reaching out to the community and they are participating is an important feature,” Keedy said.

Some community members found out about the event through Solheim’s connection to the Lutheran Church. Craig Gropper and Michelle Gropper came out from La Cañada Flintridge for the event.

“We attend the Lutheran Church in the Foothills and word got out there about this event,” Gropper said. “One of our kids used to volunteer here at Solheim, so we knew we wanted to check it out.”

Alice Wart has lived at Solheim since December and said her daughter joined her for the Oktoberfest celebration.

Wart said that she is enjoying her time at the center so far. She said she likes attending the various events and outings that Solheim holds for its residents.

“I like to get out and going. When they go places I usually go out with them,” Wart said.

According to Antypas, Solheim is looking forward to hosting more events in the future and showing the community that they can participate. Next year is the centennial of Solheim, and the center is planning a celebration in hopes of getting the Eagle Rock community involved.

“It’s important for us to let our community know that we’re here and that we’re open for people to participate,” Antypas said. “It’s a great organization. You don’t get to be 100 by flying by the seat of your pants. You get to be 100 from your experience and from doing the right thing.”

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