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Oktoberfest adds German flair to lake’s amenities

Big Bear is known for its biking, hiking, fishing and boating opportunities, but every Saturday and Sunday during the next month or so you can add the excitement of Oktoberfest activities.

Oktoberfest takes place every weekend through Saturday, Nov. 3, at Big Bear Lake in California’s San Bernardino Mountains, about 200 miles south of Boulder City.

There are two stages for live music including traditional German polkas, sing-alongs, classic rock covers, country hits and everyone’s favorite, the “Chicken Dance.” The public is encouraged to join the numerous contests and competitions, including log sawing, stein carrying and shoot &yodel (a version of beer pong).

Of course, food and beer take center stage. Treat yourself to traditional Oktoberfest food such as German knockwurst and brats, sauerkraut, giant pretzels or strudel, or more traditional American food such as burgers and chicken strips. Fill your stein with the same beer you’d find at Munich’s Oktoberfest.

Children also will love this event, with lots of activities including dancing, a Fun Zone with an oversized inflatable slide, a bounce house, game booths, face painting and contests for kids. On Saturdays after 7 p.m., only those 21 and older will be admitted, although those with children who arrived earlier will not be asked to leave.

Oktoberfest takes place at the Convention Center of Big Bear Lake, 42900 Big Bear Blvd.

From 2-6 p.m. Saturdays, enjoy complimentary shuttles to the convention center; the boarding place is behind the Big Bear Visitors Center, 630 Bartlett Road, in the village. From 6 p.m. to closing, the O’Doul’s complimentary shuttle provides door-to-door return service to wherever you are staying within Big Bear Valley.

Buying tickets for entrance, beer and food in advance will save time.

You’ll want to stay one or two nights to make the most of your visit. Expect temperatures in the 70s during the day, but they can dip into the 30s at night.

For tickets and general information about the event, lodging and other Big Bear Lake activities, visit www.bigbearevents.com or call 909-585-3000.

Many of Deborah Wall’s columns have been compiled into books about hiking in the Southwest. She is also the author of “Great Hikes, a Cerca Country Guide” and a co-author of the book “Access For All, Seeing the Southwest With Limited Mobility.” Wall can be reached at Deborabus@aol.com.

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