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 » News «    Come up to Big Bear Lake and enjoy the cool Summer Week Days  ---  Get 33% off deal (sunday-thursday) at Golden Bear Cottages resort. Promo (Code: lmwd33)

    OKTOBERFEST in Big Bear
    Posted: 07-Sep-19
    Big Bear Oktoberfest events brought to you by Golden Bear Cottages: one of the Top 20 Rustic Resorts in the USA,  and the Big Bear Lake Marketing Association

    Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest - California's #1 Oktoberfest

    Big Bear Lake - Our 49th annual event is coming weekends Sep. 7 - Nov. 2

    Admission Tickets

    Plan Ahead and Pre-Purchase Tickets

    Tickets are on sale now and can be pre-purchased for all the weekends.  

    If you are coming to Oktoberfest in October, we do recommend you 

    pre-purchase tickets.  Pre-purchased ticket holders always receive 

    "Priority Entry" and are limited so shop early!


    Also available on line for pre-purchase are Burgermeister Booklets.  

    Burgermeister tickets are used to purchase food and meals from the 

    German Kitchen, Munich Griff. Sports Wagon, and Food Court.  

    They are also used to purchase beer, wine and soft drinks.  

    So, be prepared, walk-in and enjoy everything Oktoberfest has to 

    offer without having to go to a ticket booth.

    General Ticket information:

    Adult Ages: 13 - 61 years

    Senior Ages: 62+ years

    Children Ages: 3 - 12 years

    Children 2 years and under are FREE




    49th Annual Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest

    Weekends, Sept. 7 - Nov. 2, 2019 

    You'll find a German feast fit for King Ludwig himself at the 

    Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest, and when the mountain air stirs 

    up the appetite, we have a food to tempt your taste buds.

    Directions to Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest

    The Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest celebrates 49 years of German style family fun and 
    good times this year. Rated Southern California's #1 Oktoberfest, this Fall's festival 
    offers authentic German entertainment, food and beer!
    It's that time again for Southern California's best fall celebration! We're breaking out the dirndls and lederhosen, chilling kegs of beer, and cluckin' away to the Chicken Dance frenzy! Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest kicks off this weekend, September 8 - 9, and continues for nine consecutive weekends to November 3. Join the fun and be part of the story!
    FREE TICKET ALERT - VIP FOR NOV. 2 ENCORE: Pre-purchase a ticket for any September date, and get a FREE VIP ticket to our special November 3 Encore event! Use promo code "VIP" when ordering your tickets. To pre-purchase Oktoberfest tickets visit     
    This offer for a free Oktoberfest ticket to the November 3 Encore event is valid for any Oktoberfest ticket purchased for any September date (9/8, 9/9, 9/15, 9/16, 9/22, 9/23, 9/29 and 9/30), while supplies last. Offer expires September 30. Other restrictions apply.  


    Over the years, the Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest has become world renown for its own traditions and old-world ambience, celebrating friends, family and good times.   A festival like no other, guests are treated to authentic German entertainment; feast on Brats and Knockwursts direct from the German butcher; and enjoy the very same beers poured at Munich's Oktoberfest for more than 150 years!

     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. The festival takes place in Big Bear Lake high in the San Bernardino mountains. See more details at


    Join Our Extended Family on Facebook with all the latest. Here are directions!
    From Golden Bear Cottages in Big Bear Lake:
    Miles: 5, Est. Driving Time: 10 to 12 minutes
    Go east on Big Bear Blvd. (Hwy. 18) toward Big Bear City. The Convention Center is located on the corner of Division Drive and Big Bear Blvd. Coming from the downtown village area, the Convention Center will be on the left-hand side of the Hwy. Make a left at Division Dr. and an immediate left into our parking lot. (a shuttle is available to the Big bear Oktoberfest)

    Oktoberfest lodging%20in%20Big%20Bear%20Lake
    For more Oktoberfest information you may also call:
    The Convention Center at Big Bear Lake
    Phone: (909) 585-3000
    Oktoberfest Like a Local
    Big Bear Lake's Oktoberfest is a local tradition spanning forty nine years.
    Hans Bandow and his family originally brought the tradition to Big Bear.

    What started in a tent, quickly grew into its own building, the Big Bear Lake Convention Center.
    Hans had the architect design a building based on the early Oktoberfest tents from Germany.

    Log Sawing Contest
    The event organizers provide an entertainment mix of German bands and progressive
    Los Angeles rock bands. The dancing is punctuated with old fashioned log sawing contests,
    stein holding for men and women, and pretzel eating for the kids.

    Whether you come for the chicken dance or to sample the fine German draft beer, there are
    a few things you'll want to know!
    • Parking and Entrance -Parking is plentiful during the day, but can get pretty crowded on Saturday nights.
    • The entrance to the party is on the northwest gate
    (right side of main entrance). If you make reservations, you can stroll past this line of people.

    • Family Friendly - The best time for children to Oktoberfest is during the day, before 6PM.
    There's a petting zoo with llamas, rabbits, goats and pigs. Sunday tends to be a quieter day and the kids can run all over.

    • Beer and Food Lines - All lines require a ticket (there is one outside cash line).
    • There's an ATM on the premises. You can purchase beer and food in lines outside,
    • which is usually quicker than inside. Inside, you'll have to purchase beer tickets and
    • then redeem them at the bar or food line.

    Surrounding the building are Oktoberfest cabins with vendors, food and games. Our fall weather

    can be warm and sunny, making the patio a great place to hang out.

    Big Bear Lake long range precipitation forecast


    49th Annual Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest 

    Schedule of EventsSchedule is subject to change!


    This fall, try the world's highest altitude Bavarian Beer Party.


    More from Big Bear Lake 2018 Oktoberfest;

    • New This Year:


      More Beer - The only Oktoberfest Celebration in California to Feature Ayinger Oktoberfest Bier


      More Entertainment - Three Bands Direct From Germany and expanded outdoor entertainment


      More Food - Enjoy a variety of Festival Foods in the New Food Court


    • Reserve a cabin online or call us today toll free at 1-800-461-1023
      Golden Bear Cottages is a family friendly Christian resort in Big Bear...cabin availability and rental rates... look here and see rate calendar

      2018 events:

      Ongoing events that take place each weekend include:


      Log Sawing & Stein Holding Contests - held several times throughout the day both Saturdays and Sundays.


      The Safe Slam Beer Drinking & Beer Pong contests are held every Saturday evening after 8:00 p.m.


      Children's contests are held Sundays at approximately 3:00 p.m.


      Outside Budenstrasse (Game Booths, Exhibitors, Vendors) will be open Saturdays from 12:00 Noon to 10:00 p.m. and Sundays from 12:00 Noon - 5:00 p.m.


      Please note: On Saturdays after 6:00 p.m. only persons 21 years and older will be admitted. However, families with children who have entered Oktoberfest prior to 6:00 p.m. will not be asked to leave at 6:00 p.m.

      Big Bear Oktoberfest 


      The Origins of Oktoberfest

      Oktoberfest hasn't always been about beer, dancing and chicken hats. There was always beer and dancing, but the chicken hats came much later. To truly understand the history of the Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest, you have to travel back to its roots, to an age and time long ago. One hundred and four years before the start of World War I, to be exact.

      How it All Began (Part 1)
      The year was 1810, the place was southern Germany, Bavaria, and life was hard. It was the month of October and all of the countryside had been working day and night to finish their fall harvest and prepare for the onset of winter. While the plow horses were working and the farmers' days were filled from sun up to sun down, there were some other preparations being made as well. Prince Ludwig I and his entire court were preparing for his upcoming marriage to Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildurghausen. The grand wedding was to take place on the 12th, right in the middle of the harvest. As you know any wedding can be difficult to plan, but when you're a prince it can be even more stressful.

      The invitations had gone out, the garments had been made and the location had been selected. The big event was to be held in a magnificent "weise" (meadow) just outside the gates of Munich. As the big day approached, the countryside and town, in fact all of Bavaria was a buzz with talk of the big day. Everyone was planning on attending as they were all exhausted from the harvest and it was really the last chance before the long, cold days of winter to get out and blow off some steam.

      On the 12th, the ceremony went off without a hitch. The weather was perfect, the bride looked beautiful and about 40,000 guests were in attendance. The reception, as you can imagine, was one of the biggest parties history had ever seen with copious amounts of beer and massive quantities of food being devoured. It was a reception fit for a prince. And this prince was absolutely ecstatic. Ludwig I was so taken with all of his guests that he planned a special treat for them. The prince knew that all of his subjects were huge fans of horseracing so he planned to conclude the event with a somewhat impromptu horse race across the great meadow.

      When the townspeople heard of this they erupted in a jubilant cry Zicke Zacka, Zicke Zacka, Hoy, Hoy, Hoy (this is still chanted in the beer tents of today's Oktoberfest celebrations). It was then and there that they decided unanimously to rename the wiese Theresiewiese (Therese Meadow) in honor of the Prince's new bride. This was their humble way of welcoming her to town. To this day that very meadow still bears her name. After a spectacular day and night - and probably more than a couple of hangovers - the great event came to an end.

      It was the following fall as the townspeople began to reminisce about the great time they had had the previous year (as do many of our Oktoberfest guests tend to do around the fall) that they decided to honor their prince and celebrate his wedding anniversary in much the same way. King Maximillian agreed, but this party was to be even bigger, better and longer than the first. The event became an annual celebration. And that my friends is how the Oktoberfest tradition began and continues today.

      As a side note, the beer that was poured all those years ago and that has been continually served at every Oktoberfest in Munich since will now be served at the Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest. The very same beer flowing from the taps in Munich, Germany will be the very same beer flowing from our taps in humble Big Bear Lake. And like the beer, our Burgermeister just happens to be a true German original as well. You do the math. Now, about those chicken hats.

      Oktoberfest Comes to Big Bear Lake (Part 2)
      The year was 1969 when two hopeful and devoted German immigrant parents made their way from New York City to California with all of their meager possessions, their two small children and their long held dreams locked safely inside their hearts. They spent every penny they had ever saved to purchase the then Wawona Lodge (now the Wolf Creek Lodge) and do their best to make a go of it. It was, after all the American dream.

      After Hans and Erika Bandows had completed their first winter and summer season as the new owners of the lodge, with winter being one of the fiercest Big Bear has ever seen, they decided it was time to celebrate and they knew just what kind of celebration to have. As a way of saying thank you to all of their new clients and the new friends who had welcomed them to Big Bear Lake, they decided to hold an Oktoberfest just like the one they had attended so often in Munich.

      For many days beforehand and with the help of their two daughters, Janet and Monica, the Bandows cooked, cleaned, decorated and cooked some more. Erika in the kitchen preparing authentic German food. The smells of sauerkraut and rouladen filling the lodge and making everyone's mouths water. Hans, with sweat on his brow preparing the dance floor, hoisting kegs of beer and rounding-up the band.

      Finally, with anticipation in their hearts, the Bandows household greeted their first guests and what would become a tradition for more than three decades, the first Oktoberfest in Big Bear Lake began.

      At precisely 12:00 noon Burgermeister Hans struck mallet to wood and cried "Ozphat Is!" cracking open the first keg of Oktoberfest beer. The band followed his lead and the merry sounds of the first polka filled the mountain air.

      On that day so long ago the most festive of times was had by all. They ate a little too much food and drank a little too much beer but all with a smile. That night, as Hans and Erika's daughters lay in bed listening to the faint sounds of music and laughter, they wished this night of magic would never end. Little did they know as they drifted off to sleep with spectacular shadows dancing polkas on their bedroom walls, that their wish would be granted.

      Today the tradition continues. The Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest has grown to be one of the largest and most authentic on the West Coast. The building is bigger, the band is bigger, there is even more food and beer, but Hans is still Burgermeister and Erika still stops by the kitchen to add her special touch. The magic that filled that glorious first night still drifts through the air. It's the spirit of Oktoberfest and there is nothing quite like it.

      Oh, and the two young girls, Janet and Monica? They're still around also, assisting their parents when needed. They can often be seen at Oktoberfest raising their steins and cheering "Ein Prosit" and in their hearts giving a special thank-you to their parents for all the wonderful memories.

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