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Oktoberfest Traditions In Big Bear Lake California

Oktoberfest, Big Bear Lake. The Place to Be.

In all of Southern California, there is only one authentic Oktoberfest celebration that looks, sounds, tastes and FEELS like the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. The Big Bear Lake Convention Center has been the home of one of the finest German traditions, a big party, for 41 years. Starting in a large tent, Hans Bandow, Big Bear's Burgermeister, tapped the 1st keg and the celebration was started. That party has continued every Autumn since that day in 1970.

In no time, the Convention Center building was constructed to look like a German Oktoberfest tent. Inside, tables covered in blue and white are lined up in long rows. Forest green branches and festive flags adorn the high ceiling, and the well lit stage and dance floor become the center of attention.

Every year, an authentic German Oktoberfest band is featured to entertain everyone. You need to hear a live oompa band to get into the spirit and the Burgermeister and his family have brought in the best! Die Mainfloesser Band, back again from Germany, playing traditional and "soon to be traditional" songs and dances. How can you not enjoy that shimmering accordion and those deep horns? You'll be surprised at the German songs you know. Raise your stein and sing along. The crowds are friendly and ready to get up and Polka! Die Mainfloesser Band will rule the stage through October 9.

 From October 15, through to the closing ceremonies on October 29, Southern California's Express Band will be providing the tunes. The Express band has been playing traditional Oktoberfest music for the Big Bear Oktoberfest for...well...EVER! The crowds absolutely love them. What's best, in what can only be called the "new tradition", you may find yourself dancing a Polka, that swings into a very crowded Country-Western line dance; which becomes the Macarena and explodes into the Chicken Dance. For a German tradition, there's quite an international mix!

Surrounding the party goers are food and drink bars serving authentic German and American beers and a wide variety of German meals. Brats, Sauerbraten, Streudel, Pretzels and Pig's Feet are readily and authentically available. Try the pretzels dipped into the German mustard, with a sprinkle of chopped onions. It goes great with that first beer!

All food and drink is paid for using tickets, available in up to 4 locations inside the building. Plan ahead a bit, as the ticket lines can be long. I know how hard it can be to plan the number of beers you drink, but if you buy your tickets right away, you won't need to stand in 2 lines later. That's about when you realize how crowded the place is and you're the one buying the next round. Prosit!

Here's what is no secret: It is highly recommended that you pre-order your party package before arriving. As soon as you get to the doors, you're tickets will be ready for you. Once inside, have someone get the food, someone else get the drinks, and you grab the seats. That sounds good! Now, you can sit and watch the actvities while your friends stand in line. Someone's got to do it!

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