Every year at Big Bear Lake when autumn makes way, the festive German tradition of Oktoberfest offers fun and entertainment for visitors and locals alike. For seven weekends, a deluge of activity includes stein carrying contests, an O'Doul's chug-off, children's competitions, German music, log sawing contests, the chicken dance and Budenstrasse - named after the main fairway in Munich - featuring crafts, games and German cuisine. So, who says Oktoberfest is all about the booze? Alright, a lot of it's about the booze, but you can still enjoy the amusing contests, upbeat tunes and scrumptious German treats.
Stein Carrying Contest
Who will be deemed the next Oktoberfest Queen? In honor of all the hard-working waitresses who repeatedly brought large numbers of beer steins to the tables - the stein carrying contest was born. Each contestant must pick up as many steins as she can, bring them 20 feet and put them back down without spilling more than three ounces per stein. Since 1971, it has been the most popular event at the Big Bear Oktoberfest.
Back in 1974, the Big Bear Oktoberfest queen carried a record 21 steins - which actually beat the German world record. The Germans, impressed, yet skeptical, challenged her to compete at the original Oktoberfest stein carrying competition. Low and behold, she once again carried 21 beer steins.
Southern California's Premiere German Band
For over 15 years, the Express Band has performed an ensemble of polka, pop, country, rumba, swing and tango at the Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest. Their versatility and upbeat musical tunes create the ideal atmosphere for this jovial event.
Bring the Kids
Kids are more than welcome at Oktoberfest. Of course they'll have to lay off the booze, but an assortment of games and activities will keep youngsters occupied. There are a few mere restrictions. After 6 p.m. on Saturdays, its 21 and over, but families who have arrived before 6 are welcome to stay past 6.
Originally built to accommodate the large Oktoberfest crowds, the Big Bear Lake Convention Center is open year-round and has fairs, farmer's markets and accommodations for private functions as well.