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Oktoberfest in Big Bear Lake

What is Oktoberfest?

Oktoberfest is now amongst Big Bear Lake's most popular annual events. The Big Bear Lake Convention Center dresses up in traditional German style indoors and outdoors during this celebration. People from all over the country come to have a good time. Outside in the Budenstrasse (Avenue of the Booths) visitors can find homemade goods, food, candy and snacks. Other popular outdoor activities include the mechanic bull, the face painting booth and the bounce house for the little ones. Inside you can find more food vendors, an excellent selection of German and domestic beers, line dancing, chicken dancing, live music, and plenty of contests!

Oktoberfest Contests

If you're coming to Big Bear Lake's Oktoberfest be prepared for a morning/evening of interactive fun. Visitors are encouraged to make friends and engage in many of the fun activities. You can test your skills in traditional contests such as log sawing, stein holding, and even beer-drinking competitions. Stein holding contests are also available for children. The "Oktoberfest Queen" is now a tradition for this celebration. The Oktoberfest Queen is crowned on the fifth weekend of the event, after competing against several other women in the official stein-holding contests' preliminary games and semi-finals. Fun Fact: The world record holder for the stein holding competition is Bonnie Kelso, who broke the record in 1974 at the Oktoberfest in Big Bear Lake!

Location and Transportation

Oktoberfest is hosted at the Big Bear Lake Convention Center (42900 Big Bear Blvd, Big Bear, CA 92314). While it's very easy to drive there if you're staying in Big Bear, drunk driving is strictly forbidden. If you plan on trying out any of the German brews, take comfort in knowing there is a shuttle service available that takes visitors to and from the Oktoberfest. For people interested in catching a ride there, the shuttle service begins around 2:00pm and ends around 6:00pm. The pick-up zone is at the Village (downtown Big Bear), in the Bartlett Parking Lot behind the Visitor's Center. Have fun and be safe. The shuttle service offers rides that will take you right to your door after you're done having fun. This service is available until everyone has left the Oktoberfest after it closes.

2016 Oktoberfest' Schedule

Weekend 6

Friday, October 14 (6:00 p.m. - Midnite)
"Oktoberfest Unplugged" - an intimate evening of Oktoberfest charm. Five-Course German Food/Beer Pairing Dinner. Tickets must be pre-purchased.
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Saturday, October 15 (Noon - Midnight)
Main Stage:
12:30 p.m. - Midnight - The Aalbachtal Express, direct from Germany
2:00 p.m. - Kleine Bär Tänzer Spaten Rocktoberfest Stage:
3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. - Working Poets
7:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. - Tom Nolan Band

Sunday, October 16 (Noon - 5:30 p.m.)
Noon - 5:30 p.m. - The Aalbachtal Express, direct from Germany
2:00 p.m. - Kleine Bär Tänzer

Weekend 7
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Saturday, October 22 (Noon - Midnight)
Main Stage:
12:30 p.m. - Midnight - The Aalbachtal Express, direct from Germany
2:00 p.m. - Kleine Bär Tänzer
Spaten Rocktoberfest Stage:
3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. - South of Santa Fe
7:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. - Doo Wah Riders

Sunday, October 23 (Noon - 5:30 p.m.)
Noon - 5:30 p.m. - The Aalbachtal Express, direct from Germany
2:00 p.m. - Kleine Bär Tänzer

Weekend 8
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Saturday, October 29 (Noon - Midnight)
Main Stage:
12:30 p.m. - Midnight - "The Express Band", Southern California's Premier German band
2:00 p.m. - Kleine Bär Tänzer
3:00 p.m. - Children's Halloween Costume Contest
10:00 p.m. - Adult Halloween Costume Contest
Spaten Rocktoberfest Stage:
3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. - The Rippers
7:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. - The Joe Ferraro Band

History of Oktoberfest in Big Bear Lake

Oktoberfest was introduced to Big Bear Lake in 1971 by lodge owners Hans and Erika Bandows. 46 years later it is still remains one of the most authentic and popular Oktoberfest in the United States. The eight-week celebration has been the highlight of many visitors throughout the years and is now a cemented tradition in the Big Bear Valley. The world record for carrying beer steins was broken by Bonnie Kelso in 1974 here in Big Bear Lake!