Oktoberfest in Big Bear, CA

Oktoberfest 2011, where the autumn fun begins, opens this weekend in Big Bear Lake.

Oktoberfest in Big Bear: When and Where

Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest
Image courtesy of BigBearEvents.com

Rated the #1 Oktoberfest in Southern California, Big Bear Lake’s annual Oktoberfest begins September 17 at the Big Bear Convention Center.  This year there will be expanded bier (beer) gardens, a Kindermeister party pack for children and “bucks and beer booklets” available for purchase. There is an array of events including the Avenue of Booths for quaint gifts and souveniers, food, bier, dancing, and socializing.  Children and adults anticipate the contests, the petting zoo and the bucking horse.

Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest History

When you think of Oktoberfest you might think of dancing and drinking bier (beer) to celebrate this German holiday, which started 104 years before the beginning of World War I in Bavaria.  While many may think Oktoberfest is just another party (break out that Chicken Dance), the celebration started with when farmers were having a difficult time harvesting crops and preparing for winter and Princess Therese of Sachsten-Hildurghausen and Prince Ludwig were engaged. These two events evolved into our traditional celebration.

Oktoberfest Comes to America

In 1969 two German immigrants, Hans and Erika Bandows,  made their way from New York City to Southern California.  They arrived in Big Bear Lake with their two small children and their few possessions and spent all of the money they had to purchase the Bavarian Lodge, which was recently purchased by new owners and is now called Wolf Creek Lodge.  At the time it was called Wawona Lodge.  The Bandows, after spending a fierce winter and a summer season, wanted to thank their customers and new friends in Big Bear Lake.  They planned an Oktoberfest, just like the one they had been going to for many years in Munich. The tradition they started continues this weekend.

If you’re planning to be a part of this rich tradition in Big Bear Lake, visit the website at www.bigbearevents.com for schedules and times. Everyone in town will be there.

What’s your favorite part of Autumn in Big Bear Lake?   If you have pictures or comments from the past years, please share them.

4 Replies to “Oktoberfest in Big Bear, CA”

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