Big Bear's 2014 Special Events
Each weekend you can count on any number of things to do at one of Big Bear's special events happening in the Valley, whether it's the call of brass horns, the cadence of thumping drums, the electric twang of a steel guitar or harmonious voices of a theatrical chorus line. It might be lively characters in 16th century costumes causing a mighty stir at the Big Bear Renaissance Faire, or it could be a troupe of tiny tots dressed in lederhosen and dirndls prancing around to polka music at the Big Bear Oktoberfest, or perhaps it's a cowboy posse gathered around a campfire at the Big Bear Cowboy Gathering, telling original stories and keeping the audience spellbound. One thing is for certain, there are plenty of Big Bear special events to keep you entertained. For a complete list of all Big Bear events, visit the Event Calendar.
BIG BEAR SETS THE STAGE
The natural alpine scenery that surrounds Big Bear Lake, from lakeside to the mountaintops, creates stunning backdrops for events, which explains why so many events are held each year at the mountain resort. Summertime is the perfect fit for festivities, with a deep blue lake at center stage, thousands of shady trees swaying to the sounds of nature, and cool mountain breezes providing a natural air conditioning system for those looking to escape the heat.
BIG BEAR LAKE OKTOBERFEST
In the fall the most notable event is the annual Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest, the highest-altitude Oktoberfest celebration in the United States. For 41 years, this event has attracted thousands of visitors to enjoy German food, imported brews, Bavarian bands, traditional dances and competitions, such as the Queen Stein Carrying Contest.
Another fall staple is The Big Bear Lake International Film Festival. It's where cinema meets the fresh alpine air. It showcases the emerging talents of screenwriters and independent filmmakers on the silver screen, all brimming with creativity. For three days audience members choose from documentaries, shorts and feature-length films, some moving, some daring, some thought-provoking, and others downright hilarious. The film festival is also a forum for those interested in all aspects of the film industry.
TROUT FISHING TOURNAMENTS
Of course the lake is teeming with rainbow trout, which means it’s only natural to have fishing tournaments such as the May Trout Classic and the October Troutfest. There’s even a way to win some big bucks! And all it takes is some fishing gear, bait, patience and a little luck. Anglers have the opportunity to catch a tagged trout worth $50,000 at Big Bear Lake's Fishin' for $50K Trout Derby in June. Check back more for next year's dates.
TAKE IT OUTSIDE
It only makes sense to kick off the summer months with a celebration to honor the great outdoors. National Trails Day and National Get Outdoors Day (hosted by the Big Bear Discovery Center) does just that, providing both traditional and innovative new ways to experience mother nature up close and personal. Open Air Big Bear takes it to the next level by promoting a healthy lifestyle with events to inspire people to get outside and stay active with a series of outdoor events with "altitude," such as Team Big Bear's Mountain Bike Shootouts, Big Bear Lake Paddlefest, and Endure the Bear Trail Run. In fact, the Open Air Big Bear series challenges individuals to the best of their abilities to finish each race to become part of "Conquer the Bear." It's a challenge that will change your life! Those looking for a more casual pace can choose from community group bike rides sponsored by the Big Bear Cycling Association or nature walks, canoe tours, and kayak tours offered by the Discovery Center every weekend from May to October.
Mothers are honored at a hotrod show dedicated to motherhood at the Moms and Rods Antique Car Show. Artists display fine works of art on the water's edge at the annual Art on the Lake. Wine aficionados and casual sippers alike venture into Big Bear Village to sample various wines and hors d'oeuvres at the Wine Walk in the Village.
MUSIC FILLS THE AIR – SUMMER CONCERTS
All summer long the air is filled with music from rock 'n' roll concerts in the park to tribute bands at the Big Bear Discovery Center's woodsy amphitheater or at The Cave in the Village. Save the date for Big Bear Discovery Center's Mountain Music Festival, JazzTrax and Blues for the Zoo. Mountain Twilight Music Festival features a diverse mix of genres including bluegrass, folk, blues, western and even Celtic. JazzTrax, a three day smooth jazz festival, situated right on the lake draws top-name headlining acts. Internationally recognized blues artists take the stage lakeside at Big Bear Lake's Swim Beach Outdoor Amphitheater as a benefit to raise funds for the Big Bear Alpine Zoo. Speaking of the zoo, it too gets into the act with a variety of events from its Old Time Bear Country Fair to the Native American Arts Festival to a fun-time Ice Cream Safari.
4TH OF JULY FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR
Each Fourth of July in Big Bear, thousands gather around the lake's 22 miles of shoreline to witness one of California's top-rated fireworks displays. This fireworks spectacular shoots off top-of-the-line fireworks that cascade over the lake creating a brilliant display of colors. It's a lengthy show of 30 minutes in duration, and can be viewed from a boat, around the lake and throughout Big Bear Valley. Don't miss the Rotary Club BBQ that offers an amazing lakefront view.
SPICE IT UP, CHILI TASTING COOK-OFF
If you're looking for a little zest to spice up your vacation then mark your calendar for the annual chili cook-off every July. This event draws more than 40 cooks from all over the southwest cooking up tasty concoctions, some mild and some with a zip. Visitors are invited to taste test, enjoy live music and entertainment, food and drinks in the Bartlett Parking Lot in the Big Bear Village.
VINTAGE BIG BEAR
Big Bear Lake was once a prominent cattle range in the late 1800's to the mid 1950's. Today, the sagas of cowboy traditions live on at the annual Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering. In August, more than 500 vintage autos, dragsters, and custom coupes climb the mountain highways to congregate at Big Bear Village for the annual two-day Antique Auto Show.
SNOWBOARD AND SKI CONTESTS AND WINTER HOLIDAY EVENTS
Snow covered mountains in winter means ski and snowboard competitions at both Snow Summit and Bear Mountain. Christmas in the Village kicks off the holiday season with strolling musicians, Victorian-style carolers, Christmas tree lighting ceremony and of course, Santa Claus. Hundreds of skiers and snowboarders descend down the mountain at Snow Summit's annual New Year's Eve torchlight parade.