Good beer…good times…great weather – it’s all at the Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest in the San Bernardino Mountains.
I do love me a good Oktoberest, so I headed up to the 70 degree temperatures for the opening weekend of the event (yeah, twist my arm to get away from 110 degree heat to have some beer).
Oktoberfest takes place at The Big Bear Lake Convention Center, which if you are staying the night in the mountains (you should, you are drinking tons of beer for God’s sake), is at the east end of Big Bear Lake about 4 miles away from The Village and most hotels. But you need not worry, there is a complimentary shuttle that will take you anywhere in the Big Bear area at the end of your beer drinking day.
I started my day by grabbing a 32 ounce Dunkel (german dark) beer and kickin’ it at a table outside of the convention center. After living through what seems like 1,000 consecutive over-100-degree days in The Desert, to just be able to have a beer outside without sweating buckets was worth the trip. Outside there is a mechanical bull (I saw a dog ride it), live music, shopping, and kids stuff (kids are allowed in until 6pm on Saturday and all day Sunday).
Upon heading inside the Convention Center I see that it is decked out, long tables are everywhere, and there is always a band or contest going on. The contests range from stein holding to beer pong to doing a Jager shot then yodeling – because its Oktoberfest and you are allowed to be ridiculous. The band plays traditional german songs – but also throws in contemporary songs and even gets the crowd line dancing (the girlfriend loved this).
There is plenty of german food too with bratwurst, knockwurst, even pig knuckles! If German food is not your thing, there is also tacos and burritos. Check out the full beer and food list here.
The one small drawback to the festival is that you can’t just buy a damn beer, you have to buy a ticket first at a separate window then use that tickets to get a beer – but this is not their fault, just one of the weird alcohol laws they have for these kind of events. And the lines for both tickets and beer are not long. (Skip the first beer ticket line outside, everyone goes there as it is the first one they see…there are plenty more around the grounds).
Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest runs weekends, now through Saturday, Oct. 25. For detailed information and to pre-purchase tickets, checkout www.bigbearevents.com.