Small Town Reaches up With Big Open Arms

Posted: 07/02/15

Big Bear Lake is a proud host of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games Host Town Program.

Big Bear Lake plans to deliver small town hospitality with wide open arms for Special Olympics athletes from three different countries, which include Luxembourg, Chile and Montenegro. The athletes arrive in Big Bear Tuesday, July 21. A schedule of fun-filled activities and events begin Wednesday, July 22 and end Friday, July 24, before the athletes depart to Los Angeles for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremonies on Saturday, July 25.

“Big Bear is going to provide top-notch hospitality that only a small town can deliver. We want to show the athletes that everyone is a winner in Big Bear!” said Big Bear Lake Host Town Chair Rick Bates. “We want the athletes to go back home and tell their family and friends about the wonderful time they had in Big Bear.”

The Big Bear Lake Host Town Committee has scheduled three main community events open to the public. Bates added, “These events are an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our community to meet some very inspirational people.”

The first event is “World Games Fiesta de Big Bear,” which takes place outdoors at Sonora Cantina on Wednesday, July 22 at 5:30 p.m. It’s a Mexican-heritage themed event that includes a taco bar with all of the fixings, mariachis and dancers in traditional costumes. Admission is $10 at the door.

Join Special Olympics athletes at the “World Games Big Bear Dance Party,” which takes place at Bear Creek Resort’s Bear Cave Entertainment Center on Thursday, July 23 at 5:30 p.m. The event features live music by The Cave House Band, a performance by Special Olympics Unified Cheerleaders, and DJ music provided by DJ Hunter Natzic. The main event is “Battle of the Big Bear Pizzas – Pizza Buffet.” The all-you can-eat pizza buffet is provided by five different pizza restaurants from Big Bear that includes Maggio’s Pizza, Red Baron Pizza, Saucy Mama’s Pizzeria, Village Pizza and Domino’s Pizza. It’s a friendly competition between the pizza restaurants vying to become the “Host Town Pizza King.” The athletes determine the winner by voting for their favorite pizza. Admission is $15 at the door.

Both “World Games Fiesta de Big Bear” and “World Games Big Bear Dance Party” help raise funds for the Big Bear Lake Host Town Program. All proceeds help house, feed and transport the Special Olympics athletes while staying in Big Bear.

On Friday, July 24 at 10 a.m. Big Bear sends the athletes off with a special procession led by Big Bear Lake Fire Department and Big Bear Sheriff Department vehicles with flashing lights and sirens. The procession starts at Wolf Creek Resort on Big Bear Blvd. and heads west to Big Bear Village where it heads south up Pine Knot Blvd to Village Drive. From Village Drive the sendoff procession continues west back onto Big Bear Blvd. It passes City Hall and finally ends at Big Bear Dam. For those who want to make some noise when the procession goes by can stop by the Big Bear Visitors Center to pick up free cow bells provided by the Big Bear Cycling Association.

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About the Special Olympics:

World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015) With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games - being staged in Los Angeles July 25 - August 2, 2015 - will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. The 2015 Special Olympics World Games, with the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and displays of courage and skill that are hallmarks of all Special Olympics events, will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region. The Opening Ceremony, to be held July 25, 2015 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators. On April 30, 2014, LA2015 and ESPN announced a global programming deal that will see ESPN bring coverage of World Games to millions of fans around the world. Honorary Chairs of the Games are President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Jerry Brown serving as Honorary Hosts. Current Founding Champions and sponsors include The Coca-Cola Company, Mattel, Deloitte, Toyota, Bank of America, OUE, Kaiser Permanente, Davis Elen Advertising, AEG, David Geffen, Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, The Walt Disney Company, and Knights of Columbus. LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee, is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information on the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit and on social with #TheWorldisComing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Special Olympics:

Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than 1.3 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 81,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including the Christmas Records Trust, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics®, The Coca-Cola Company, The Walt Disney Company and ESPN, Lions Clubs International, Mattel, P&G, Bank of America, Essilor Vision Foundation, the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation, Finish Line, The Safeway Foundation, and Safilo Group. Visit Special Olympics at Engage with us on: twitter@specialolympics,,, and

July 02, 2015