It was forty years ago when German immigrant Hans Bandows and his wife started a tradition in Big Bear Lake that mirrors Bavaria’s famed Oktoberfest. The Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest is still going strong after forty years, and like a fine red wine the event just gets better with age. This year, Mr. Bandows will once again shine as honorary Burgermeister (master of ceremonies) to celebrate the 40th Annual Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest.
For six consecutive weekends, Saturday, September 18 to Saturday, October 30, people gather together to sing traditional Bavarian songs, clog to polka music, and participate in games and contests such as stein holding matches, log sawing competition and the queen stein carrying contest. The Chicken Dance is the definitive favorite dance at Oktoberfest. Young and old, male and female, beer drinkers and teetotalers take to the dance floor to flap their arms and cluck like a chicken.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an authentic Oktoberfest without real German food and real German beer! On tap this year is Warsteiner Pilsner, Warsteiner Dunkel, Warsteiner Oktoberfest and King Ludwig Hefeweizen. There is also a Jägermeister Happy Hour from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. each Saturday of the festival. The food is as authentic as it gets, too. In fact, the bratwurst is bought from a German butcher in Los Angeles and strudel from a German bakery in Downey!
“It’s been forty years of zany, quirky and madness all rolled up in one. The funny thing however is it gets bigger, better and brighter each and every year, which means more fun for everyone!” said Monica Marini, managing director of The Convention Center at Big Bear Lake. “This year is extra special because we’re bumping the fun up a notch to celebrate our 40th anniversary.”
Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest is rated Southern California’s #1 Oktoberfest because of its engaging non-stop entertainment, wacky German antics and special contests. The 2010 entertainment lineup features the Die Mainfloesser Band direct from Germany and The Express Band, Southern California’s premiere German band. Each weekend authentic dance troupes such as the Danube Swabain Dancers, Cripple Creek Cloggers and D’Oberlanders perform customary dances. Other performers play traditional instruments such as the accordion and alpenhorn, which are always a surefire crowd pleaser. Outside is The Budenstrasse (Avenue of the Booths), which provides a variety of children’s entertainment and arts and crafts vendors.
Big Bear’s Oktoberfest kicks off with American’s Hero weekend on Saturday, September 18 offering free admission for all past and present military, fire fighter and law enforcement. Opening festivities include a special tribute to all those that put their lives on the line protecting America’s freedoms.
The Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest provides an excuse to enjoy a weekend away from the stress and obligations of everyday life in a beautiful alpine setting. It begins Saturday, September 18 and runs for six and a half consecutive weekends through Saturday, October 30, 2010.
The weekend festivities takes place at The Convention Center of Big Bear Lake located at 42900 Big Bear Blvd.
General admission is $12 for adults, $9 for seniors (65+), and $6 for children 12 and under on Saturdays; and $5 for adults, $4 for seniors with children 12 and under FREE on Sundays.
For more details regarding on line ticket savings and general information, log on to www.BigBearEvents.com or call (909) 585-3000.
The Big Bear Lake Resort Association is offering a variety of Oktoberfest lodging packages for the run of the festival. To learn more about lodging packages visit www.bigbear.com or call call 800-424-4232.