Real People with Real Strength  Become Stars of the Show at Oktoberfest


BIG BEAR LAKE , Calif. --Think you got talent? Maybe you do but you'll never know till you try out at the Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest where a pretty face alone won't win you an award. If you can carry 15 steins filled with beer, saw a log and limbo the lowest, then you may qualify as one of the finalists for the right to call yourself the Queen of Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest.


Competitions at the 39th Annual Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest include log sawing, stein carrying, sausage eating, stein holding, O’Doul’s safe slam beer chugging, yodeling, and limbo dancing. Children’s fun and games include pretzel eating contests, kiddy mug holding matches and Midway carnival-style games.


The main event of Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest is the Crowning of the Queen. The Stein Carrying Contest is the only one of its kind in the United States . The rules are simple, yet challenging and physically demanding. Each contestant must pick-up steins filled with water, carry them a distance of 30 feet and set them back down without spilling more than three ounces out of any one stein. Each stein weighs about 5 lbs. The preliminary round begins with 13 steins and increases with each round. The one who carries the most steins wins. In the past some participants have carried more weight in beer than their own body weight. The Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest queen is crowned the fifth weekend of the festival after competing in three preliminary events. 


Crowd favorites are stein holding events that take place several times a day. The object is to see who can hold a full stein with an outstretched arm, chest high without dropping their arm or spilling the stein’s contents. The log sawing contest is known to get roars from the crowd! This competition is a two person team sport for both men and women that test skills of strength, speed and technique.  O’Doul’s safe slam beer drinking races (non-alcoholic) awards winners who guzzle down liquid the fastest! This competition is great for “couch potatoes” who want to become instant stars. The limbo dance is a downright hoot. Anyone and everyone who has a little bend in their mid section vows to get down as low as they can to the sounds of polka music.


Contests at Oktoberfest are just part of the fun. When contests are at a standstill, a huge dance floor is filled with revelers clucking away to the “Chicken Dance.” Continuous entertainment includes professional cloggers, polka dancers, yodelers and musicians. This year’s event features Die Franken Power Express Band direct from Germany . The band plays traditional polkas, sing-alongs, classic rock and a mix of country favorites. The band is scheduled to perform three weekends, September 26-27 and October 3, 4, 10 and 11. The headline band the other four weekends is the Express Band, known as Southern California ’s premiere German band.  


The Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest runs for seven consecutive weekends, September 19 through October 31 at The Big Bear Lake Convention Center, located at 42900 Big Bear Boulevard in Big Bear Lake . The times are Saturdays 12 noon to 12 midnight and Sundays 12 noon to 5:30 p.m. Ticket prices for Saturdays are $12 adults; $9 seniors (65+); $6 children (3-12). Sundays are $5 adults; $4 seniors (65+); and children (12 and under) are free. Group and tour package pricing is also available. For more information call 909-585-3000 or visit


Favorite hotels include Northwoods Resort.



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